Last night, the beauty world paid tribute to Leonard A. Lauder, Chairman Emeritus of The Estée Lauder Companies. The visionary leader and philanthropist received the Retail Excellence Award for his outstanding contributions to the retail and beauty sectors at a dinner co-hosted by The Jay H. Baker Retailing Center at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the Retail Leaders Circle. CEW was honored to attend the event, which was held at The Rainbow Room in New York City. The award was presented in recognition of Mr Lauder’s remarkable career as CEO of The Estée Lauder Companies, and his pivotal role in helping his mother, Estée, transform the iconic brand that she created in her kitchen in 1946. The first R&D laboratory was established at his initiation, as were the company’s 1990s acquisitions of Aveda, Bobbi Brown, MAC and other brands. The award also acknowledged Mr Lauder’s philanthropic support across a range of communities and causes (co-founding the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, for example).

In other news today, at CEW we report on the role of voice technology in beauty. “Over 70% of consumers say they prefer conducting voice searches to manually entering their queries because we speak three times faster than we can type on a keyboard and five times faster than tapping on a mobile device,” says Tobias Dengel,  author of the brand new book,  The Sound of the Future: The Coming Age of Voice Technology (October, Hachette Books).  “Conversational AI is the voice search piece, and generative AI analyzes that query and comes back with a visual selection of options based on ratings, reviews, and your personal preferences. These kinds of algorithms are going to proliferate throughout retail.” 

Catch up on these and other top stories today.  

How voice technology is changing the way we shop for beauty. “While voice tools make shopping faster, easier, and more customized, they can also be potentially game-changing,” writes Gina May for CEW. (CEW)

Pat McGrath partners with Google for The Art of Beauty pop-up in New York, featuring “AR try-on technology”. Tickets are free for the three day event, which will run from October 20 to October 22, and take place at 101 7th Avenue, New York. (WWD)

Timely reading for today, International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, the Borgen Project spotlights the projects and beauty brands, from L’Oréal to Burt’s Bees, who are actively helping women in poverty. (The Borgen Project)

Why Nordstrom is sticking with an omnichannel approach to customer connection, even post-pandemic. At CEW,  Genevieve Monsma talks to Debbi Hartley-Triesch, Nordstrom Executive Vice President and General Merchandise Manager for Beauty and Accessories, about the store’s strategy in the way it serves customers, both in-store and online. (CEW)

“DNA methylation is cumulative and can modify the epigenetic code for healthy skin,” says Rishabh Kala, Ph.D., at the latest Cosmetics & Toiletries podcast. “This is because epigenetics is the “language” DNA uses to communicate with skin, supporting repair, circadian rhythm etc.”. (Cosmetics & Toiletries)

Shiseido has signed Bollywood actress Tamannaah Bhatia as its first Indian ambassador. Bhatia will represent Shiseido skincare, as part of the brand’s expansion into the region and its “unwavering commitment to connect with the Indian market”. (Cosmetic Business)

In the UK, Marks and Spencer’s Beauty offering goes from strength to strength. Heidi Woodhouse, Director of Home, Beauty & Furniture, reveals the “trusted editor in beauty” strategy behind the company’s success in this area (the store reported a 11.5% sales increase in its Clothing division for the year end April 2023, which includes the successful Beauty store-within-a-store department). (Cosmetics Design, Europe).

Under pressure: Christina Mahar, founder of Craft Beauty Lab, unpacks the modern challenges facing beauty manufacturers. Speaking to Beauty Independent, Maher shares her own insights and expert predictions, too, for the future of “clean beauty”. (Beauty Independent)

And in case you missed it…

Following the news last week that Jue Wong is leaving Olaplex and with Amanda Baldwin slated to take the helm next year, Faye Brookman writes at CEW that “Olaplex is a case study of the power of social media”. (CEW)