Le Labo's store design in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

It doesn’t matter if you walk around Williamsburg, through the Lower Eastside or up to Chelsea – it feels like New Yorkers breathe Le Labo – the perfume brand’s fragrances linger in the air like bearded guys do in organic cafés (or, the brands own coffee bar). Le Labo build up an image of New York-cool, through their scents and overall style. 

Melodically creaking wooden floors, raw walls with poetically fluttering paint or artfully broken metro tiles, heavy, cold brew-colored oak boards, steel and glass dividing the store space and the trademark lab (where each purchased perfume is bottled):
Le Labo’s headquarter, including their office, store and café, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, displays the essence of the brand’s aesthetics and philosophy perfectly.


The flair lies somewhere between a painter’s atelier and a whiskey distillery, and you sense that an unique product is (hand-)made here. Right after the moment you unlock the metal cap from one of the bottles to try a scent, the vision is fulfilled: Each scent, be it with woody notes or floral takes, is indeed extra special.

Le Labo, found 2006 by Eddie Roschi and Fabrice Penot were the first who took luxurious perfume out of the gold glistening boudoir – and drenched it in a New-York-cool style, from marketing and design to the actual scent. Even after being sold to Estée Lauder, Le Labo kept their unique DNA. Ahead of their time, all products have been vegan from the start, are free of paraben, preservatives or coloration, and are not tested on animals.

We talked to the founders about their motivation and inspiration.

Eddie Roschi und Fabrice Penot, founder of Le Labo

Tell me about the start of Le Labo – what made you invent a fragrance brand?

The world has changed in the last 13 years… back then, there was very little choice in perfumery for someone who was tired of the marketing tricks played by the designer brands and wanted to wear a great, spectacular, creative perfume.

We wanted to propose an alternative, in the perfume itself, but also by sharing the backstage of perfume creation sharing the craftsmanship behind a true fine fragrance.

By working with the best perfumers in the world, by making every perfume to the order, by a permanent reverence to craftsmanship, we decided to challenge the perfume status quo. We launched our first boutique in NYC in 2006.

What’s your vision for Le Labo?

When we started, there was only Frédéric Malle and Serge Lutens in this market. They showed the way. Now it is so busy that it feels like niche is the new mass for sure. But there is still a head start given to the ones who know what they are doing.

Le Labo has remained the same. Our boxes are the same, the labels are the same…

We have been focused on our craft, on making the most beautiful perfumes we can, sold in a quiet and interesting environment, resisting the confusion of comparing ourselves and positioning ourselves on a market that we don’t know anymore. We have our little planet and we are determined to keep doing what we do without being bothered by the “cool of the day”, even when there is our name on it.

Cool scents and hot drinks: Le Labo, 122 North 6th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11249

Le Labo is focused on “craftmanship “. What defines a modern and great perfume in your opinion?

A perfume that people come back for because it has changed something in their life.
Santal 33, Rose 31, Thé Noir 29, Gaiac 10, Another 13, Bergamote 22… We are fortunate enough to have a strong olfactive vision that we don’t compromise with and that has created an incredible roaster of iconic scents.

What’s the function of fragrance in your opinion? Be it a personal or home scent…

To make you feel good, empowered, more beautiful, a perfume is the message you want to send to the world about yourself.

What’s your all-time favorite aroma fragrance?

I am another daily victim of Santal 33. There is just no way around it. Trust me, I tried.

Where or on whom would you like to smell Le Labo?

People who are able to feel and be moved by the invisible magic we try to provide, people who care less and less about the noise, the glamour and the sparkles and care for meaning and emotion and true craftsmanship.

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[Editor]
Laura Dunkelmann
[Photo]
PR
Dezember 17, 2019
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