I was saddened to hear of the passing of Evelyn Lauder this week. Philanthropist, crusader for Breast Cancer awareness and innovative executive at Estee Lauder, Mrs. Lauder was a formidable figure on the New York social scene known for her warmth and spirit. I had the pleasure of experiencing her gracious style firsthand when my husband and I were invited to the Lauder's home to celebrate a mutual friend's engagement. She and her husband Leonard hosted an intimate dinner in their beautiful Fifth Avenue penthouse apartment. Prior to dinner, I called my friend and asked her if she knew Evelyn's favorite florist and sent her a small bouquet the day of the dinner with a note. When we arrived at their home, I was struck by the magnificent and aromatic floral arrangements in the grand foyer, yet Evelyn thanked me warmly for the flowers and ushered me into her bedroom where she had placed the special bouquet on her bedside table. Such class! The dining room was impeccably set for the Asian inspired dinner with waitstaff in white jackets at the ready, but what I most recall about the evening was how charming and warm the Lauder's were to their guests. The memorable evening ended with Mrs. Lauder suggesting I chose a scented candle and an Estee Lauder silver crocodile compact from their "private stock"-a large table in the foyer was filled with the wrapped gifts for each guest to take home. I will always remember my very special evening with the most gracious and generous Evelyn Lauder.
Among her many accomplishments, Mrs. Lauder was an avid photographer. You can view more of her photos here.
photo of Mrs. Lauder by Douglas Friedman