Aerin Lauder on Her Fall Favourites and Sultry New Fragrance

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Photography Courtesy of Estée Lauder.

You’re going to want to grab that cashmere sweater.

One glance at Aerin Lauder’s Instagram and you get the idea she could advise you on how to bring a new level of sophistication to just about anything, including your travel plans, flower arrangements, and yes, even how to set your dinner table. We chatted with the beauty mogul (and granddaughter of cosmetics pioneer Estée Lauder) about her new fall fragrance, Cedar Violet, what puts her in the mood for the season, and her Thanksgiving menu hits.

Aerin Lauder Cedar Violet

What made you decide that the new Aerin fragrance should invoke the spirit of fall?

We actually started working on the fragrance about a year and a half ago and, as you can tell from my Instagram, I love flowers. My boys are always saying, “No more flowers on Instagram!” However, I really wanted to add a woody floral to our Aerin Lauder fragrance collection. I don’t usually gravitate towards woody notes alone, so I love that we ended up with this unexpected combination of sandalwood and cedarwood with violet, muguet and gardenia. I was inspired after I’d been to the Adirondacks a few times. It’s really beautiful and magical, especially when the leaves change. There are incredible lakes, trees, hiking paths. That was the inspiration behind Cedar Violet. It’s cozy and meant to be worn on a fall weekend with a great cashmere sweater and a pair of jeans.

How do you personally gravitate toward different scents throughout the year?

I love to rotate my fragrance. I think that’s what makes it fun. In my dressing room in New York, I have five or six fragrances and I always have lab samples of something I’m working on. I got that from Estée, she always had lab samples on her desk. I think it depends on the season and the mood. I love Rose de Grasse and I love the Tuberose Le Jour, but right now, I’m gravitating a lot toward Cedar Violet, because I’m excited about it. I went to Italy on holiday this past summer, so of course I brought Mediterranean Honeysuckle with me.

How do you like to bring the idea of fall into your home in New York?

All summer long I have the Aerin Orange Blossom candle burning, and it’s very summery and light and pretty. Then, as the season turns, I love the Aerin Amber Musk candle. As the leaves are changing, I love an arrangement of winter and fall hydrangeas, and I like having green branches in my home. I also love red roses, white roses, pink roses; I think roses are so magical and very romantic. Rose is an interesting note because, depending on how you mix it, it can also be a very fall scent. It represents friendship and love, so it’s a beautiful flower with a beautiful meaning.

How do you like to set your table for fall entertaining, and especially Thanksgiving?

I like playing up fall colours like deep greens and reds, and having woody and cozy notes. We have a beautiful collection of deep green plates and beautiful leaf-shaped plates and accessories, which is perfect for layering those warm colours. We also have wood flatware, and there’s nothing more perfect for fall.

What are some of your favourite dishes to serve on Thanksgiving?

I love really classic Thanksgiving food. My family loves the sweet potatoes with the marshmallows on top, and I think Thanksgiving is also a lot about dessert. It’s really the only time of year you eat pecan and pumpkin pie.

What are some must-visit places in NYC during the fall?

There’s something really beautiful about walking through Central Park when the temperature is changing, and it feels very fall.  I also like going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art at this time of year, when they always have tons of new exhibitions. To me, that’s very iconic. Same with the Nueue Galerie, which is a gallery my father started a few years ago. It’s an Austrian and German museum. Going to the café and having a coffee and piece of Austrian cake makes me feel like fall is happening.