Beauty entrepreneur Aerin Lauder shops for new tableware to match her phenomenal and diverse china collection.

By Christine Quinlan
August 01, 2012

In this Article

“Just like my grandmother Estée, I’ve never been afraid of color,” says Aerin Lauder. Lauder has worked for more than 20 years at her grandmother’s famous beauty company, founded more than a half-century ago; this summer she’s launching her own beauty, housewares and fashion line under the Aerin label. Her legendary grandmother’s influence is evident in Aerin’s designs, as well as in the way she sets her table for dinner parties at home. For instance, she mixes graphic coral plates by Sydney Albertini with bright hydrangeas and pale-blue glasses at the East Hampton, New York, estate that once belonged to Estée. While her grandmother loved to set out little bowls of candy or kumquats to decorate the table, Aerin often takes a more playful approach, filling bowls with stones, seashells or even her sons’ toy action figures. “That whole idea of embellishment, and a certain level of style detail, is something my grandmother handed down to me,” she says. Estée also left Aerin a substantial china collection, which she still uses and has added to over the years. “That formal style of entertaining is really fun when you first get married,” she says. “But my tastes have changed, and now I like a more fun, casual mood.” On the next page, Aerin shows how she uses Estée’s heirloom china pieces as inspiration for her own modern style.

Aerin Lauder Sets Four Tables

Lauder’s china ranges from elegant (vintage Spode) to out-there (Damien Hirst). Here, table settings in four distinct styles.

Formal Style

 Vintage Spode plate Photo © Michael Turek.


Vintage Spode plate inherited from Lauder’s grandmother.  Savoy Champagne saucer by LSA Photo courtesy of LSA.


Savoy Champagne saucer by LSA. $50 for 2;  Grand Duchess gold flatware Photo courtesy of Lifetime Brands.


Grand Duchess gold flatware. $300 for 65 pieces;  Cordwain damask fabric Photo courtesy of Schumacher.


Cordwain damask fabric in Mica. Price upon request (to the trade);

Casual Style

 Cabbage plate by Todd Alexander Romano Photo © Michael Turek.


Cabbage plate by Todd Alexander Romano, from Lauder’s collection.  Ba tumbler by Nouvel Studio Photo courtesy of Nouvel.


Ba tumbler by Nouvel Studio. $22;  Dakota jug Photo courtesy of William Yeoward Crystal.


Dakota jug. $135;  Delovely napkin Photo courtesy of Dransfield & Ross.


Delovely napkin. $30;

Bold Style

 Superstition plate by Damien Hirst Photo © Michael Turek.

Lauder’s Plate

Superstition plate by Damien Hirst. $20,000 for 12 pieces;  All-Time flatware Photo courtesy of BDE.


All-Time flatware. $150 for 24 pieces;  Théorème glass by St. Louis Photo courtesy of Saint-Louis.


Théorème glass by St. Louis. $225; 212-835-6448.  Steel La Pliée chair Photo courtesy of BDE.


Steel La Pliée chair. $710 for 2;

Beach Style

 Bespoke plate by Sydney Albertini Photo © Michael Turek.


Bespoke plate by Sydney Albertini.  Water hyacinth mat Photo courtesy of Dransfield & Ross.

Place Mat

Water hyacinth mat. $26;  Nordlys glass by Holmegaard Photo courtesy of Nordlys.


Nordlys glass by Holmegaard. $20;  Carthage lanterns Photo © Maison Luxe.


Carthage lanterns. From $86;