Evelyn H. Lauder (1936–2011) was the Senior Corporate Vice President and Head of Fragrance Development Worldwide for The Estée Lauder Companies. During her more than 50 years with the Company, she held many positions while contributing her invaluable insights about fashion trends, consumers' changing needs and new approaches to the development of innovative skin care, makeup and fragrance products. She also helped name the Clinique brand. As Head of Fragrance Development Worldwide for The Estée Lauder Companies, she led the development of the Company’s most globally successful fragrances, including the best-selling Beautiful and Pleasures.
She was perhaps best known to the public for her work in bringing global awareness to women’s health. Her personal experience with early-stage breast cancer in 1987 led her in 1992 to co-create — with Alexandra Penney of Self magazine — the now ubiquitous Pink Ribbon, recognized as the worldwide symbol of breast health. In conjunction, Mrs. Lauder launched The Estée Lauder Companies Breast Cancer Awareness (BCA) Campaign (bcacampaign.com). To date, the BCA Campaign has distributed more than 115 million ribbons and informational brochures worldwide. In 2000 she and the BCA Campaign launched its annual Global Landmarks Illumination Initiative, whereby historic landmarks are illuminated in pink lights during October to focus global attention on breast health. In 2010 the BCA Campaign illuminated 38 global historic landmarks within a 24-hour time frame and achieved the first-ever Guinness world record for “Most Landmarks Illuminated for a Cause in 24 Hours.” Included were the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel in India, the Tokyo Tower in Japan, the Hotel Majestic in France and the Empire State Building in New York City.
Mrs. Lauder was also Chairman of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), which she founded in 1993. She was passionately committed to preventing breast cancer and finding a cure in her lifetime by funding the most innovative clinical and translational research at leading medical centers worldwide. Today, BCRF is the world’s largest private funder of breast cancer research and BCRF-funded investigators have been deeply involved in every major breakthrough in breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and survivorship.
In 1989, Mrs. Lauder initiated the fundraising drive that established the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. As the first breast and diagnostic center, it became a model for similar facilities around the world. The expanded Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center opened in September 2009 and is three times the size of its predecessor. It provides the most up-to-date breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, and outpatient treatment services and serves as a worldwide model for offering coordinated supportive services under one roof for one disease, a concept which has been replicated in other institutions and for other diseases.
Mrs. Lauder’s achievements have garnered global recognition. In 2002, she received France’s Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur. In June 2007, Mrs. Lauder received the prestigious 2007 Partners in Progress Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology for her efforts to increase public awareness about cancer. In 1999 and 2007, she was featured in Crain’s New York Business magazine as one of New York’s 100 Most Influential Women in Business, and in 2008 she was nominated to the International Best Dressed List. In 2010, Mrs. Lauder received the Fashion Group International Humanitarian Award in recognition for her work with BCRF and her tireless efforts toward eradicating breast cancer. In October 2011, the Lauder family received the prestigious Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy for their longstanding commitment to philanthropy and public service.
Mrs. Lauder was a dedicated photographer, whose art has been represented in many public and private collections, including The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, and leading medical facilities worldwide. She’s had two photography books published of her own work, The Seasons Observed and, An Eye for Beauty. Her photographs have been exhibited internationally, including the Pace/MacGill Gallery in New York City, Berggruen Gallery in San Francisco, Duran Exposiciones de Arte in Madrid, The Red Gate Gallery in Beijing and at the Galerie des Galeries at the Galeries Lafayette in Paris. Her most recent photography exhibition “Salon Beauties” opened at the Gagosian Gallery in London on September 29, 2011. In September 2006, Mrs. Lauder published her first cookbook, In Great Taste: Fresh, Simple Recipes for Eating and Living Well. All of Mrs. Lauder’s royalties from her books and exhibitions are donated to BCRF.
Evelyn Lauder passed away from complications of non-genetic ovarian cancer on November 12th, 2011. She is survived by her husband Leonard A. Lauder, Chairman Emeritus of the Estée Lauder Companies; her son William, Executive Chairman of the Estée Lauder Companies; her son Gary, Managing Director of Lauder Partners LLC and his wife Laura, General Partner of Lauder Partners; and her five grandchildren.