BOT­TLE T ALK

The house rewrit­ing the fra­grance rule book.

Elle (Canada) - - Beauty -

With mis­sion state­ments like “We be­lieve celebri­ties should pay full price” and “We be­lieve that there are too many bot­tles of per­fume and not enough soul­ful fra­grances,” Le Labo is clearly not your av­er­age fra­grance house. The com­pany, which blends and la­bels its per­fumes while you wait, is build­ing a legacy through its au­then­tic ap­proach to lux­ury crafts­man­ship. ELLE Canada What lives at the heart of Le Labo that makes it spe­cial?

Fabrice Penot, co- founder of Le labo

“The in­ten­tion be­hind what we do is to make peo­ple’s lives more won­der­ful through per­fumery— to cre­ate per­fume with a cer­tain depth, spa­tial­ity and deep emo­tional con­nec­tion. Every­thing is done by hand: Our can­dles are poured one by one, and our per­fumes are made to or­der. That pa­tience and care is im­por­tant to us. Fi­nally, and this is a lit­tle more ‘New Agey,’ there is a be­lief in magic. We spend our lives try­ing to catch and cre­ate that.” EC Your anti-busi­ness ap­proach is well known. [The brand has no mar­ket­ing de­part­ment or PR agents.] That takes con­fi­dence. F. P. “We’re build­ing a legacy, and we have time. We can’t cher­ish crafts­man­ship or make things the way we do by be­ing im­pa­tient. Crafts­man­ship is about time: learn­ing a skill and get­ting bet­ter at it. It’s a life­style. If you rush it, you kill the whole idea. Ninety per­cent of my job is to pro­tect that spirit.” EC You have many best­selling fra­grances, like Rose 31, which is used for the ameni­ties in Fair­mont ho­tels across Canada, and the cult favourite San­tal 33, a smoky, woody aro­matic scent. What makes San­tal 33 spe­cial?

F.P. “The magic I was talk­ing about...some­times it just sticks. San­tal’s a spe­cial fra­grance that you haven’t smelled be­fore, so you feel spe­cial wear­ing it. It gives an im­pres­sion of well-be­ing. Some­times when a per­fume is too ‘cre­ative,’ it makes you un­com­fort­able.” EC Fra­grance elic­its such strong re­ac­tions in peo­ple. It’s al­ways fas­ci­nat­ing to hear some­one say they don’t wear or like per­fume.

F. P. “It’s like say­ing ‘I don’t be­lieve in sex.’” [Laughs]

Le Labo San­tal 33 Eau de Par­fum Spray and Thé Noir 29 Eau de Par­fum Spray (both $265 for 100 mL). For de­tails, see Shop­ping Guide.

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