Monday, March 15, 2010

Oh la Le Labo

Took a sunny stroll down Marylebone High Street yesterday and popped into perfumier Le Labo, who has recently set up shop following their concession in Liberty. The new Le Labo store follows in the retail footsteps of other "rough luxe" concepts such as Aesop and All Saints. Exposed birck work and wooden floorboards act as a background to a well-defined selection of scents. What sets Le Labo apart is their belief that perfume begins to degrade as soon as it is made, so they handmake every bottle there, in-store. The receipients name or message can also be added to the bottle. Everything was very beautiful and the staff were lovely, but as L`Artisan Parfumeur closes just up the road and Dyptique barely just opened not 500 yards away, one does begin to ask questions. Firstly, just how many perfume shops does the Marylebone shopper really need at her disposal? It's like an upmarket version of Reading, with perfumiers and Waitrose instead of Morrisons and charity shops. Secondly, as a retail concept it is fantastically executed and incredibly aspirational, but I would need the advice of an insider in order to understand what sets these new kids on the block apart when it comes to their scents. When is a rose not a rose? When it's crushed to order and presented in reclaimed tins.