Lauder served as senior corporate vice president and head of fragrance development at Estee Lauder. A breast cancer survivor, she was also an advocate for women’s health. In 1993, she founded the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and she is credited with creating the Pink Ribbon campaign. However, Lauder’s philanthropic work was prolific, reaching far beyond breast cancer awareness. She was also known for her photography, which has been displayed in galleries around the world.
Born in Vienna, Austria, she escaped with her family to the United States during WWII. She met her husband Leonard Lauder on a blind date; they were married for 52 years. Shortly after their wedding, she joined Estee Lauder, where her first project was to create the company’s training program. She also acted as new product director and marketing director during her ascent at the company. Her mark on Estee Lauder was exhaustive. Among the many feathers in her cap, she came up with the name for Clinique and engineered the acquisition of Bumble & Bumble. She had a distinct passion for fragrance, and created Aramis with her mother-in-law Estee.
In a statement issued to WWD, Estee Lauder executive chairman William Lauder addressed his mother’s profound legacy:
“My mother carried the torch of our company heritage and the values that were passed to her by my grandmother, Mrs. Estée Lauder. My mother and father were life partners as well as business partners. They nurtured the culture and growth of the Estée Lauder Cos., and as we grew, my mother was our creative compass and pillar of strength. Together my family and the company celebrate the beautiful person she was.”