x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Makeover for a truly beautiful villa

The former house of the eponymous founder of the American cosmetics company Estee Lauder has come to the market for a cool €9.85 million.

Estée Lauder created Beautiful at this villa. Laurent Meesemaecker / Knight Frank
Estée Lauder created Beautiful at this villa. Laurent Meesemaecker / Knight Frank
A Estée Lauder, the grande dame of American cosmetics, worked on the classic perfume Beautiful at her home Villa Roche Cline on the French Riviera.

Now, nine years after Lauder's death, the 1880s-built villa is being marketed after an extensive restoration project for an eye-watering €9.85 million (Dh47.5m).

The six-bedroom, six-bathroom villa in Le Californie in the Cannes hills, just a kilometre from the town's famous Croisette, was bought by the American business magnate and her husband Joseph in 1961 just as the pair were expanding their cosmetics business into the competitive European market.

The jasmine and rose pine- fringed garden reflects the jasmine and rose scents in Lauder's Beautiful and many of the interior walls are painted acquamarine, the colour of Clinique packaging and still the signature colour of the multinational cosmetics giant to this day. And if that was not enough to remind you of Lauder, the sitting room comes complete with a giant black-and-white portrait of the eponymous founder.

Viewers report that the contents include a collection of letters received by her from department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Harrods between the 1950s and the 1980s reporting on sales figures.

Lauder, who died in 2004 at the age of 97, was the only woman to feature in Time magazine's 1998 list of the 20 most influential business geniuses of the 20th century.

Born in the New York borough of Queens in 1906 to part-French Catholic, part-Hungarian Jewish parents, the young Estée, born Josephine Esther Mentzer, grew up helping in her uncle's chemists'shop and selling face creams to beauty shops. Her career started to take off after she successfully sold her products to her hairdresser. She soon set up her own company, specialising in beauty creams and perfumes.

Famous customers included Nancy Reagan, Grace Kelly and Diana, Princess of Wales and brands include Clinique, Bobbi Brown and La Mer.

Brokers add that the labyrinthine villa comes with panoramic sea views from every level, a garden terrace and a heated swimming pool.