To understand Jane Hertzmark Hudis, all you need to do is take a peek inside her fridge. In the glow of her Sub-Zero sit rows of Saratoga spring water (labels facing forward), racks of champagne, Ladurée macarons, and neatly stacked Iittala glass cubes filled with fresh-cut fruit,all arranged like a De Stijl painting. The onetime art history student is all about aesthetics—her home is bursting with modern art—but she’s equally obsessed with rigor.
“I’m very disciplined,” she says,smiling. She has to be: The self- described brand builder runs Esteé Lauder, Bobbi Brown, Aerin, Darphin, Aveda, La Mer, Bumble and Bumble, and Origins. Here’s how she gets it done.
“I’m very much inspired by Estée Lauder. She had extraordinary taste, and she was an incredible visionary. She worked at a time when women didn’t work and female entrepreneurship was certainly a rarity. I’ve really made it my mission to give back, so I founded the Women’s Leadership Network in our company, which is all about mentorship.”
“When I was a baby, my parents couldn’t get me to sleep— I didn’t want to miss out. I’m still like that today. I wake up at 5 a.m. to my Tiffany clock. I’ll go on e-mail and Instagram for an hour, and if it’s nice out I’ll walk to work in my Le Monde Beryl flats. Aerin [Lauder] introduced me to them. They’re the most comfortable things in the entire world. I’m at the office by 7:30 a.m. I like to be the first person there so I can respond to e-mail (my in-box is my to-do list) and set the agenda for the day.”
“People always tell me when they see a piece that’s ‘very Jane.’ That means it’s modern, elegant, and simple—and it’s usually a dress. Right now I’m long on Oscar [de la Renta]. My jewelry is very classic: I wear my wedding band and a Cartier watch. I bought it 15 years ago as a gift for myself. My go-to heels are black Manolos. I keep three different pairs in the office, both suede and leather, with 90-millimeter heels. I carry everything in a [Hermès] Birkin.”
“I use Esteé Lauder Advanced Night Repair morning and night. Then I apply La Mer The Moisturizing Soft Cream and La Mer The Eye Concentrate. When it comes to makeup, I wear a lot of neutrals. I have 25 lipsticks in rotation, but most days I wear the same nude lipstick. For an important meeting, I up the ante: I want to look professional and powerful; I’m selling what we do. That means thicker liner and a deeper lip.”
“When I fly to Asia, I sleep really well. I have a good 15 hours, which is pretty amazing. I bring my [Hermes] bag, and I pack my cashmere travel wrap inside in. I wash my face, put on [Estée Lauder] Advanced Night Repair, La Mer Crème de La Mer, and drink a lot of water. I never eat a meal on a plane. Maybe I’ll eat two fruit and cheese plates, but if I have a chance to sleep, I’ll take it.”
“In my office, I have a file called ‘Nice Notes’—e-mails and cards I’ve received over the years. In today’s world with all the tech, there’s nothing like a beautiful handwritten note, and, honestly, I learned that from the Lauder family. I have a cabinet full of stationery.”
“Of course I can read documents on my iPad, but sometimes I like to print them and take them home so I can delve more deeply into a document. I still like to hold something in my hand, take a pen, and cross a word out. That kind of physicality helps me think.”
“There’s a tranquillity to this apartment. I worked on it very closely with [architect and interior designer] Lee Mindel. It’s a real indoor-outdoor space. When I get home I sit in the bath with my Jo Malone oil, look out at the skyline, and process the day. Sometimes I’ll have a glass of wine with my husband, Cliff, on the terrace. On weekends I watch Law & Order and On the Case With Paula Zahn—I love crime shows.”
This article originally appears in the April 2019 issue of Harper's BAZAAR, available on newsstands now.