While the landscape around us turns grey, pink ribbons bloom on chests. For exactly thirty years, October has been National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in almost every capital city in the world and an annual communication campaign is being conducted to raise awareness of breast cancer screening and to raise funds for research. All this culminates on October 22, a day when everyone is invited to dress in pink. On this day, all shades are allowed and welcome, even if the specific color of October’s emblematic pink ribbon is Light Pink 1895 C on the Pantone color chart.

The name of Estée Lauder is attached to this event, but it is to the daughter-in-law of the founder of the cosmetics brand, Evelyn Lauder, that we owe the appearance of the pink ribbon every October. Born in 1936 in Vienna to a Jewish family that managed to escape the Holocaust by selling silverware, Evelyn Lauder, née Hausner, arrived in New York at the age of four. At Hunter College, where she studied psychology and anthropology, she met Leonard Lauder, a navy cadet who would become her husband. At the time, Estée Lauder, Leonard’s mother, ran a small company that bore her name and produced a red lipstick, some anti-wrinkle creams and a heady perfume, Youth Dew, in the form of a moisturizing oil.

Several hundred million dollars

After starting a career in teaching, Evelyn joined her husband at Estée Lauder Laboratories and created the Clinique brand. Committed to the well-being of women, she became a New York socialite and raised funds to create a medical department specialized in breast cancer (one of the most common forms of cancer in the world), at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The inauguration of this department took place in October 1992, hence the choice of October as the annual breast cancer awareness month.

With her friend Alexandra Penney, editor-in-chief of Self magazine at the time, she came up with the idea of a pink ribbon that would be placed on every Estée Lauder store counter in New York City. The pink ribbon evokes gentleness, optimism, and a kindly look at oneself. The following year, Estée Lauder cosmetics launched a new shade of lipstick and blush: the Pink Ribbon, the proceeds of which were donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Record amounts, several hundred million dollars, have since been raised through these actions, and it is clear that breast cancer mortality is decreasing thanks to the early detection encouraged by the Pink October campaigns. Evelyn Lauder would die from ovarian cancer in 2011.

For the past 11 years, a new initiative has been added to these actions: The Estée Lauder Companies Pink Ribbon Photo Award. The theme of the 2022 edition is “An Eye for Beauty!” in honor of Evelyn H. Lauder.

Pink and Arab brands

While monuments around the world are lit up in pink, from the Eiffel Tower to the Sydney Opera House, and Pink October initiatives are spontaneously launched by all sorts of businesses, tea shops, restaurants, bakeries, fashion brands and more, to raise funds that will go both to research and to support heroines who are fighting the disease, many designers are helping us to choose our manifesto outfit to support this fight. We found pink pieces from almost all the Arab brands, from new launches to established names.

Ready for the 22nd? At Roni Helou, pink is interpreted in tie dye on a pumpsuit and a jacket. At Emergency Room we will find a mini skirt in shocking pink velvet. At Ghen.Co, a petticoat in a tsunami of tulle. Nafsika Skourti has created a delicious little bare back dress with an Empire waist, highlighted on the front by a fine chain of crystals. New Tanger has in its collection a dress with bishop sleeves, very Saint Laurent, with a matching cape. Jean-Louis Sabaji posed a bare-shoulder dress on a transparent tulle suit with tattoo embroidery decorated with crystals. Georges Hobeika offers in his collection for next summer a refreshing series sewn in all shades of this color, both girly and full of character and inspired by flamingos. Elie Saab, in his ready-to-wear collection for next spring, has also slipped in a few pink pieces, among which a beautiful long draped gown with a complex set of bands at the bust.