The raw, industrial design of a perfumery reflects the soul behind its unisex fragrances
A cult perfumery’s raw design mirrors its soul
THE WORD “CULT” IS THROWN AROUND A LOT IN BEAUTY, but when it comes to Le Labo, any other word just seems… unworthy. Launched in 2006 by French co-founders Edouard (Eddie) Roschi and Fabrice Penot – in New York, no less – the artisanal fragrance brand disrupted the perfume industry back when it was still dominated by big-name designers and celebrities (Britney Spears’ Fantasy, anyone?). Le Labo’s points of difference? No advertising, no mass distribution and no assigned genders. There isn’t a “for him” or “la femme”, just a tight edit of beautiful fragrances to be enjoyed by all. “The gender thing never resonated for me,” Eddie says. “I know we’re all familiar with it and think of it as normal, but for someone who loves perfumery, it’s hard to understand why a fragrance would be specifically for men or women.” The Le Labo ethos translates to the brand’s design aesthetic, from the glass bottles to the custom labels and brown paper packaging. The boutiques are also designed to resemble laboratories rather than stuffy perfumeries. Take the Le Labo Williamsburg store, with its rows of labelled jars, hand basin and filing drawers. Encompassing an office space and cafe, the rough-hewn facade and interiors feel at home in the neighbourhood, which was scouted by the founders who like to choose locations they connect with. This authenticity, and the fragrances that transcend time and gender, are what make Le Labo the beauty zeitgeist of our era.
Embrace imperfection In 2017, Le Labo opened its Williamsburg location, which includes an office space upstairs (opposite). The industrial lighting, dark wood, exposed brick and unfinished tiling reflect the brand’s raw take on beauty and true craftsmanship.