by Frank E. de Jesus

Cosmetics and fashion have always been lovingly linked and probably no one understood this relationship better than beauty entrepreneur, Estée Lauder. The global brand, founded by Mrs. Lauder and her husband in 1946 with a roster of four skincare products, has tapped Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, the hyper hip designers behind New York brand Opening Ceremony to dress Estee Lauder beauty advisors worldwide. The fourteen-piece collection the duo designed is modern and elegant, a far cry from the counter smocks of yore.

Estée Lauder was the only woman included in Time magazine’s 1998 list of the 20 most influential business geniuses of the 20th century, and with good reason. Lauder’s hands-on approach was revolutionary in the beauty business. She spent a great deal of time mentoring her customers and beauty advisors alike. “I didn’t get there by wishing for it or hoping for it, but by working for it,” she often reminded her sales force. Lauder was also deeply involved with advertising and package design, including the company’s signature blue, both played a big part for Lim and Leon when it came to the signature wardrobe they created.

“Estée Lauder has such a rich history in luxury,” said Lim. “We explored Estée Lauder’s visual archives and fell in love with the beautiful motifs that became part of the overall design, to create a silhouette that is slightly retro with a modern look and feel.” This included the brand’s vintage compacts, which inspired a new signature enameled belt, and the iconic “Rope Weave” pattern, which inspired a new custom jacquard print.

The signature jacquard is featured in a short-sleeved pleated dress, peplum blouse and pleated skirt. Other pieces in the collection such as a slim pant, shirred neck blouse or peplum blazer are fashioned in navy. For an interview with WWD, Lim explained, “We really wanted to communicate the quality, the prestige and everything that you associate with the brand. Something classic, timeless, really fresh and modern.”

We have a feeling Mrs. Lauder would approve.

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