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Guest Contributor

Interview by Kimberly Schlegel Whitman
NorthPark The Magazine

NorthPark Luxury Ambassador Kimberly Schlegel Whitman visits with Aerin Lauder, the luxury maven behind the AERIN Collection by Williams Sonoma.


I have a penchant for researching hostesses and ladies of great style. I enjoy reading and soaking in the advice of stylish women from the salons of the 18th century to the modern swans of today—though very few of those have created a brand as lovely as the timeless Aerin Lauder.

Throughout my life I’ve enjoyed encounters with Aerin—during our stay at the Austrian ambassador’s residence where she spent some of her childhood, and when I was an intern with her father’s art collection office, fresh out of Southern Methodist University at the time. But it wasn’t until I sat down to lunch with her at NorthPark Center that I learned of her enduring love for entertaining friends and family. Of course, we have all read her beauty and style advice and admired photographs of her home and parties. Now we can easily bring a piece of her design sensibility right to our own homes with her line for Williams Sonoma.

Aerin and I share many passions, from celebrating the everyday to decorating with blue and white, so I was honored to dig a little bit deeper and ask her a few more questions that I can share with you.

KSW: Entertaining at home takes time and thoughtfulness. Why is it important to you?

AL: I love to entertain and have guests of all ages over for dinner and drinks. Good friends are an extension of my family, and hosting people for a special occasion or just for a weekend night is the perfect way to bring your closest people together.

KSW: What are your entertaining hacks? Any go-to tricks or recipes that you always incorporate?

AL: My grandmother taught me the secret to entertaining is to make guests comfortable. I picked up a trick from her as a little girl to serve gourmet potato chips or mix- and-match candies in beautiful bowls—guests love it! She also instilled in us all that everyone loves a gift. I love to incorporate a little something for guests to take home with them into the place setting.

KSW: With so many stylish influences in your family, from your grandmother’s feminine style to your father’s incomparable collection of 20th-century art, how have you managed to carve out a style of your own? Have you been bitten by the collecting bug? What do you collect?

AL: Beauty is my heritage, but home has always been my passion. Both my mother and grandmother loved to decorate, and I inherited this passion from them. As a child my dollhouse was my favorite toy, and that love has stayed with me. I am also very passionate about mixing di erent fabrics, furniture, antiques and lighting. I collect vintage charm bracelets. I love to imagine the history and stories behind each piece. On more of a home front, I love to buy plates and table linens, so I have created quite a collection of those too, which makes it fun to entertain and change up the settings. My parents really influenced my love of both art and design. Growing up we would go to museums wherever we traveled, so I learned about art and style at a very young age. I have always been drawn to contemporary art. The sense of the unexpected—it’s so appealing to have in your life. I like mixing recent works and traditional art in a room.


KSW: We share a passion for blue and white. What do you love about it? How can our readers incorporate blue and white into their own entertaining?

AL: My absolute favorite color combination is blue and white— it’s part of my decorating DNA, and I use the combination often. Blue and white is a common theme throughout my home in the Hamptons, and it has become a signature throughout not just the AERIN Collection by Williams Sonoma decorative accessories, but across the AERIN brand as a whole. The crisp blue and white palette is life essential in my eyes. It’s classic and clean and works in any style of home.


KSW: We love your visits to Dallas! What do you think of when you think of Dallas style?

AL: I love Texas! Dallas has the chicest women who live the AERIN lifestyle. They are passionate about home, beauty and fashion. I love getting to know my customer every time I visit, and look forward to my next trip.