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GIRVIN | Strategic Branding & Design | Seattle

GIRVIN | Strategic Branding & Design | New York

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I had the chance to connect with Aerin Lauder, the 40th floor, the GM building, 5th Avenue and Central Park South — for a tour of her grandmother’s offices as the presentation forum — gallery, rather — for her personal collection of objects for her new Private Collection grouping. Sunday, this complete collection launches at Bergdorf.

Largely sheathed in gold (she’s bringing gold back, anew), the packaging presentation is restrained and luxurious — boxes are double sleeved in a deep, especial blue. That blue — something to a deeper, darker slated character of turquoise, unlike any of the other earlier reflections of Lauder blue. Containers are recalled from an earlier time — there are bottles, for example, that are from Estes product development era. Classic stuff. Gorgeous.

Aerin was extremely gracious, the general civility of the entire presentation was classically restrained and elegant — almost clinically precise, coupled with Aerin’s warmth and enthusiasm for her grandmother’s legacy. And now, what she was doing to bring this forward to her generation of market contribution.

The offerings — a series of bags, kits and compacts, golden bamboo shafted brushes, special golden containers for fragrance — all orchestrated, bejeweled and ornamented from another time, from Estée’s classical product development lineage.

There’s a new book of Skrebneski’s Lauder work — exquisite and remarkably real renderings of various stories from the Lauder advertising history.

What struck me??

Aerin’s reclaiming the story of her grandmother — and she was deeply connected to her: Aerin was “always hanging on” to her Estée — an adorable image. She showed me the first bill of sale — a invoice bundle of creams and fragrances to some dealer in the 40s. There was a great logo, from back then — really rather wild, actually. Something stacked and canted in a kind of European 30s stylistic intention — daring, actually. And we talked about that. And it was good to spend just a little time with her, watching her present, connecting with her ideas. It was a story.

What was learned??

It was all, it was all about the story. It was all about reclaiming and reaching to the genius of the past and what might be gathered, culled from the rich archives that must lie there somewhere in that grand GM building. And more importantly, it’s a matter of reaching back, that story, and creating anew; it’s gathering from the one, the history, and placing the spirit of that in a new context — a new positioning, that recalls and evokes.

So spending time with Aerin Lauder, in many ways, confirmed that thing that I’ve been considering and exploring in my own practice — I’m looking for the story, trying to find that. What does the story mean for me; what does that story form for my relationships — and finally, how do they intertwine? And finally, who cares about it??

Being with Aerin Lauder confirms that – her new story, her retelling, the making of The Private Collection. From 1973, found again, anew.

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