For centuries, men and women have been using fragrances to enchant and seduce. But in an oversaturated market with some 20,000 scents available to buy across department store counters or from drug store shelves, it can feel impossible to pick one that feels truly individual to its wearer. That’s why former Giorgio Armani Fragrances employees Fabrice Penot and Eddie Roschi founded Le Labo in 2006. Both in their early thirties, the two men decided to launch a company that is adamantly non-conformist in its philosophy, and to release products that are exceptionally luxurious.
Rather than being mass-produced, each Le Labo store is a fragrance lab in its own right. Its scents are mixed by hand before the customer’s very eyes. They are then personalized with a bespoke label to embellish its simple glass bottle.
Each ingredient in a Le Labo product is carefully selected based on the quality of its scent and its safety to the wearer. “…there is a lot of natural [scents] that are unsafe and synthetics that are very safe, so really that should not be a debate. What should be one is whether or not you harm anyone or anything to create a perfume,” Penot explained in an interview with Filler Magazine.
In keeping with their beliefs as ethical vegans, every product released by Penot and Roschi is manufactured free of animal products or testing.
Apart from running a company that is in tandem with their personal beliefs and integrity, Le Labo’s founders state one goal for their products. Bringing together the world’s best perfumers and with no eye for cost, the two men aim “to create a sensory ‘shock’ as soon as you open the bottle.”
In addition to their exclusive line of 13 scents, Le Labo developed seven signature scents that pay tribute to the cities they’re named after: New York, Paris, Dallas, London, Tokyo, LA, and Chicago. Available only in the boutique of the city they belong to, these fragrances are designed to evoke the spirit of that city and drape its wearer in the essence of a place.
Perfume enthusiasts may lament for the days when the very rich were outfitted with their own custom scent or long for the glamour of Marilyn’s shocking revelation that all she wore to bed were a few drops of Chanel No. 5. In an age when perfumes are treated like the flavour of the week and knock-offs line the shelves of Chinatown stores, Le Labo has reintroduced exclusivity and lavishness to the fragrances we adorn ourselves with.
Torontonians can find Le Labo’s scents at Gee Beauty for a shocking and sensual sniffing experience.