The Maximalist

The Maximalist

The Maximalist

After 30 years at Estée Lauder, the former group president made an unexpected pivot. Now he’s back – with a new job, the support of his friends and a book that explores his singular style and philosophy on life.
 
It’s a clear morning, and the sky over Manhattan wears the same blue as the front door of the man who had to start over at 67. For over 30 years, John Demsey was a highly regarded businessman, extending his influence far beyond the United States. During this time, the son of a painter and an industrialist from Ohio transformed the originally very classical and conservative image of the Lauder company with provocative beauty projects, especially with the MAC brand and later Tom Ford. He made diversity-promoting pop stars such as Lil’ Kim, Missy Elliott, and RuPaul celebrated brand ambassadors. As Group President, he achieved staggeringly high revenues, propelling the company from a mid-sized family business to a publicly traded global conglomerate, temporarily valued at over $100 million. John Demsey became a star in the beauty industry and was also a frequent and welcome guest in private circles. As Chairman of the MAC AIDS Fund, he raised a total of more than $500 million for AIDS assistance. When the COVID lockdowns began, the divorced father of a 15-year-old daughter started reposting amusing memes on his private Instagram account, gaining 73,000 followers. “It quickly became a large community. People from all over the world approached me and said, ‘Thank you! You made me cry, laugh, and feel.
 
 
As a Senior Advisor at L. Catterton, a private equity firm connected with LVMH, he embarked on an unusual book project with Vendome Press after being persuaded by his friends, interior photographer Douglas Friedman and fashion journalist Alina Cho. The plan: a coffee-table book about his unique life, aesthetics and philosophy. “My friend Douglas said: ‘Your house has been seen in Architectural Digests around the world, but no one has really captured the personality behind it. You – who understands the art of collecting like no other and wants to live creativity without boundaries.’”
 
 
The photo production lasted 17 days. Together with Dutch stylist Mieke ten Have, Demsey showcased his masterfully decorated house. “The project became almost a physical manifestation of who I am, a creative passion project,” he recalls. The work “Behind the Blue Door – A Maximalist Mantra” was published just over six months ago. A glamorous book party in his house last September marked Demsey’s reentry into New York’s society: “I had a lot of support from the fashion world.” Demsey also highlights the exceptional friendship and mentorship of Leonard Lauder in our conversation, saying: “He remains a positive force in my life.”
 
 
John Demsey continues to run his Instagram account. Today he has 2.1 million followers. @jdempsey
 
This story originally appeared in and courtesy of https://www.gg-magazine.com/en/2024/03/der-maximalist

Who You Work with Matters

We spearhead your home selling process every step of the way. We provide global access paired with 26 years of local expertise.

Follow Us on Instagram