Fashion All The Rage

Fleeting beauties

When the Lauders come to L.A., they do it right. Evelyn and Leonard Lauder invited 50 of their closest friends (Sherry Lansing, Michael Eisner, Ed Ruscha, etc.) to dinner at the Sunset Tower on Thursday night and served healthy fare inspired by her cookbook, "In Great Taste." It was all to celebrate "Perceptions of Beauty," an exhibit of Evelyn's photographs on display through the weekend at the Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills.

The photos of glamour-girl ceramic vases filled with colorful flowers combine Lauder's love of cosmetics and nature. She serves as senior vice president of Estée Lauder Cos., the cosmetics empire founded by her late mother-in-law.

"They're kind of cute aren't they?" she said, looking at her lovelies on the wall at the gallery. Lauder has been collecting the retro vases for more than a decade at flea markets and antiques malls. Then, in the winter of 2005, she started photographing them at her Palm Beach house. Actually, they were all shot in one room in January or February, when the light is soft. And the trees had to be trimmed back just so to allow enough sun through the window. When they aren't having their picture taken, the 85-some-odd vases sit on glass shelves in her pantry. "I'm running out of room," she said.

It's not Lauder's first foray into photography. She's been exhibiting her work — mostly landscapes — since 1992, and published her first book, "The Seasons Observed," in 1994. An ardent philanthropist, she donates all proceeds (more than $1 million so far) from her photographs and books to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, which she founded in 1993.

A breast cancer survivor, Lauder helped create National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October) and established the pink ribbon as its symbol. In 2000, she launched the annual "Global Landmarks Illumination Initiative," bathing landmarks in pink light on Oct. 1 to bring attention to the cause. More than 200 have been illuminated so far, including the Empire State Building, Niagara Falls and Leaning Tower of Pisa. At the party, Lauder revealed that she wants Los Angeles International Airport to be next.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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