Sad news reaches us today that Evelyn H. Lauder, executive of The Estee Lauder Cos., and daughter-in-law of the cosmetics company founder, Estee Lauder, died at her Manhattan home Saturday from complications of non-genetic ovarian cancer. She was 75. For many years, Evelyn had paired her job as senior corporate vice president and head of fragrance development worldwide at Lauder with serious hours of charity work - helping those suffering from breast cancer. She founded The Breast Cancer Research Foundation in 1993, and to date the organization has raised more than £220 million for research and supports 186 cancer researchers globally.
What an amazing lady. The mega company is staffed by a number of the Lauder family, a close-knit clan by all accounts. Her son, William Lauder made this statement on her passing; ‘My mother carried the torch of our company heritage and the values that were passed to her by my grandmother, Mrs. Estée Lauder . . . together my family and the company celebrate the beautiful person she was.’
In addition to her husband of 52 years, Estee Lauder Cos. Chairman emeritus Leonard, and her son William, Lauder is survived by her younger son, Gary Lauder, managing director of Lauder Partners LLC; daughter-in-law Laura Lauder, general partner of Lauder Partners, and five grandchildren.
Tributes to the late philanthropist have been pouring in. All-American designer, Tommy Hilfiger, described her as an ‘American icon’ and lauded her remarkable commitment to charity as well as her help in shaping his own business over the years. At a meeting 20 years ago, in which she had to give approval for Hilfiger’s first women’s scent. Lauder asked him what was the name and Hilfiger said he was still working on it. He recalled her replying, ‘the name has to be Tommy Girl.’ - to which he replied; ‘you are absolutely right.’
Another New York icon, Donna Karan, said to Evelyn ‘the word ‘no’ did not exist.’ The designer noted that Lauder epitomised so many circumstances and values that the two women shared. ‘We co-wrote the journey from the world of beauty and fragrance to the world of cancer,’ Donna explained how she was so ahead of her time, and a taboo-buster in her approach. Back in those days, ‘you didn’t even discuss the word [cancer].’
Estee Lauder ambassador and Brit glamazon Elizabeth Hurley paid the following tribute; ‘Evelyn Lauder was an amazing woman and her phenomenal work for breast cancer will never be forgotten,’ the actress said yesterday. ‘She inspired me in so many ways and I learnt so much from her. She was a wonderful friend to me for over 17 years and I will miss her terribly.’