THE NEW FACE OF LAUDER: ELIZABETH HURLEY

Byline: Pete Born

NEW YORK — The face of Estee Lauder will undergo a change this summer, when Elizabeth Hurley makes her debut as the new spokesmodel.
Lauder made the formal announcement at a full-scale press conference on Wednesday, confirming a story that appeared in these columns last Friday.
Introducing Hurley to reporters, photographers and TV crews, Leonard A. Lauder, president and chief executive officer of the Estee Lauder Cos., said she will appear in the August editions of some American magazines to promote the fall launch of a new women’s fragrance.
Hurley’s face also will be seen overseas during that period in conjunction with other Lauder products, he added, emphasizing that the 29-year-old British actress will represent all company products around the globe.
In August, Lauder will begin installing Hurley’s picture in stores overseas. By September, her image will be the face of Lauder worldwide in print and TV advertising.
Terms of the contract were not disclosed. Hurley succeeds Paulina Porizkova, also 29, who has represented Lauder since 1988 and will appear in its ads until this summer.
Prior to the press conference, Lauder executives said the event was more significant than just a change of models.
“The Eighties was more about being beautiful in a perfected way,” said Lauder USA president Robin Burns, “and no one exemplified that more than Paulina. In the Nineties, what advertisers need is someone who can project a broad range of emotions, from sultry to very innocent, very warm and touchable.”
“Paulina is such a beauty, it was difficult to merge her with the Estee Lauder persona,” said Lauder. “In Elizabeth’s case, she is our persona — a real person, someone you would like as your best friend.”
The company said 15 women were considered during a two-year search. None of the others were identified, but reports have circulated that actress Uma Thurman was among the candidates. Lauder declined comment about that.
During the press conference, Hurley was asked what her boyfriend, actor Hugh Grant, thinks of her appointment and the resultant attention.
“I think he’s very pleased,” she replied. “Indeed, I think he’s been having too much attention lately.”
A few moments later, Grant walked through the crowd and joined Hurley on stage.