The fashion and cosmetic industries lost a legend this weekend with the passing of the ever chic and charitable socialite Evelyn Lauder. Married to the son of the cosmetic powerhouse founder Estee Lauder, Evelyn personified true class in her dress, carriage and above all, heart. In 1992, Lauder worked in tandem with Self magazine editor Alexandra Penney to create the pink ribbon symbol that came to represent awareness and research for breast cancer. Estee Lauder counters were the first to distribute these ribbons throughout the country.
With Lauder’s passing, it has made me consider the current cultural definition of a socialite. Today so many of the individuals that are given this label lack substance. They may dress flawlessly, attend fancy social functions and be connected to people in all the right places, but where is the character? In my book, if one is blessed enough to have such good fortune, one needs to pay it forward. Women like Lauder represent a class of individual that went far beyond status and she took issues to heart. In spite of having all the trappings of the good life, Lauder knew the importance of caring for others and that is a virtue that is incredibly lacking in today’s high society. Evelyn Lauder was not known for scandal such as philandering or substance abuse. She was known for her devotion and tireless work to eradicate breast cancer. For this, my hat is off to her.