Last week saw the passing of one of the beauty industry's most pioneering women. Evelyn Lauder passed away last Saturday at the age of 75, from complications of ovarian cancer. In over 50 years at the company, Lauder was at the forefront of some of the brand's most iconic initiatives. Here, a look back at her most memorable contributions, to the beauty world and beyond.
1. Breast Cancer Research — Lauder was one of the leading forces in the fight against Breast Cancer. She created the Breast Cancer Research Foundation in 1993. Today, the BCRF is the largest national organization exclusively devoted to funding breast cancer research. Prior to that she started a fundraiser that raised the money to create the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
2. The Pink Ribbon — Lauder is also credited as the mastermind behind the pink ribbon — the worldwide sign for breast cancer awareness. She created it in 1992 with the then-editor of Self magazine as a way to draw attention to breast cancer and to serve as a reminder for all women to get themselves checked. According to WWD, over 65 million of these ribbons have been distributed worldwide since the initiative's inception.
3. Innovation — As the senior corporate vice president and head of fragrance development for the Estée Lauder Companies, Lauder was a driving force behing some of the company's most historic moments. She's credited with everything from creating the brand's classic Aramis men's fragrance, to overseeing the acquisition of Bumble and bumble.
4. Giving Back — Philanthropy was a huge part of Lauder's life, and not just breast cancer awareness. She founded the Evelyn and Leonard Lauder Foundation with her husband. Through the charity she tackled a host of pressing issues from education and the needs of inner-city schools to women’s causes and the arts.
Photo: Courtesy of Estée Lauder