"When you have an iconic product, Rule No. 1: Never forget quality; Rule No. 2: Deliver what you promise; Rule No. 3: Don't change the packaging."
Jan Masters interviews Leonard Lauder, the eldest son of Estée Lauder and chairman emeritus of the Estée Lauder Companies Inc, for Harrods. Perfume-wise we learn of an upcoming fragrance by Bobbi Brown and of a special commemorative solid perfume compact of Beautiful for Harrods; the sensitive sense of smell of Leonard Lauder is confirmed. We also take a peek into one of Estée's bathrooms, one modeled after the shape of the bottle of Youth-Dew...
"Lauder is also endlessly inquisitive, which he sometimes employs in a twinkly-eyed trick to turn the conversation away from himself. For every question I ask, he asks three: Do I like perfume? What kind of perfume? Do I like this? He hands me a version of a nascent Bobbi Brown scent that Brown herself slipped into his pocket at a recent party for him to road test.
I breathe it in...and I love it. He can tell my response is genuine rather than ingratiating because I've already remonstrated that too many perfumes smell the same -- like olfactory white noise. So he promises to call Brown and get me a sample. (He does.)
The unremarkable lab bottle with its nondescript label still nestles in my handbag. And I'll be almost sad when the project comes to fruition and I cease to be one of the few people fortunate enough to be party to a work in progress. I've even grown to associate this treasured scent with its functional, unprepossessing bottle. It will be interesting to see how I feel about it when they change the packaging."
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