By Elizabeth Rahe
Dylan Lauren and her brothers, Andrew and David – the fashionable Ralph Lauren clan siblings – may have hunted their last foil-covered chocolate eggs together.
“I guess last year was probably our last official Easter egg hunt. I think everyone was getting a little bit scared of losing or getting injured – we really take it seriously,” says Lauren, 39, who hunted last year with her wrist in a cast from a fall unrelated to mad scrambles for chocolate eggs.
However, Lauren, founder of the sweets emporium Dylan’s Candy Bar, still looks forward to the holiday that’s been her favorite since childhood. “Easter to me represents color and springtime and being outdoors and gardens and pretty flowers, so it’s just my favorite time of year,” she says.
She also has a vested interest in Easter. Her stores – including a candy, ice cream and cocktail emporium on Lincoln Road Mall in Miami Beach – are brimming with sweet treats to fill Easter baskets.
Then there’s her rabbit fixation. “I grew up collecting rabbits. It probably started when I was like 2, and I received my first stuffed animal. I now have over 3,000 rabbits in my collection. Every Easter, still to this day, I go on sort of a rabbit hunt.”
Another childhood obsession, her love of candy, sparked the creation in 2001 of Dylan’s Candy Bar, which includes stores in New York City; East Hampton, New York; and Los Angeles; with expansion to airport locations in the works.
She calls the Miami Beach store “sunny and happy,” with its 70-seat outdoor patio, indoor party room, full ice cream and dessert menu and a bar serving candy-theme cocktails.
“The average customer is in shorts or beach clothes so it creates its own environment – a very different environment than New York City,” Lauren says. “The other thing that’s different is a lot of customers are Latin, so some of the candies we try to carry cater to that audience.”
As the daughter of fashion mogul Ralph Lauren and author Ricky Lauren, Dylan grew up surrounded by design, art and fashion. After earning a degree in art history from Duke University, she thought about joining her dad’s company, but her family also encouraged her to follow her passion. She says her first store, in New York City, was inspired by the film Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, which her parents screened at her sixth birthday party. In 2011 Lauren married hedge fund manager Paul Arrouet, wearing a bridal gown designed by her father, of course.
Her fashion sense and art background are expressed in the pop-art displays in Dylan’s Candy Bar as well as in the store’s candy-themed apparel and accessories. She recently launched a new line of jewelry, cosmetics and tech accessories in Claire’s accessory stores.
Lauren puts her taste for candy to good use in quality control. “Today was like an eating fest of sampling,” she says. “We’re looking at Easter for next year, designing the packaging because we want everything to be special. We customize some of our candy bars so I have to try out the chocolate – it’s really a hard job.”
This Easter if the Laurens hold to their pact, there will be no egg hunt, but the youngest of the siblings savors the recollection of last year’s competition – and it was a competition.
“I was the most victorious champion – the one with the most wins,” Lauren says, “so that’s probably my best Easter memory.”