Le Labo is carving out new territory in fragrance retail, with the recent opening of a standalone store in Tokyo’s Daikanyama. The brand, founded by Eddie Roshi and Fabrice Penot, has been making waves in the industry since it launched in a small but perfectly formed boutique in New York’s Nolita in 2005, and we have been following its progress closely ever since.
Click here to see more images of the boutique.
The range consists of nine core launch scents, created by highly reputed noses in Grasse, which are freshly mixed at point of retail. We honoured the brilliant Rose 31 – a gender-free rose scent, last year in our 2007 Awards issue.
From Nolita, the range went into selected stores around the States and is beginning to make its way around the world. Le Labo produces an exclusive scent for each major city it sells in, and restricts the fragrance's availability to that city alone.
There is one for Dallas (Aldehyde 44), one for New York (Tuberose 40), Paris has the brand new Vanille 44 sold exclusively in Colette, and Tokyo’s is expected to be launched in September. An eagerly anticipated concession in Liberty of London opened at the end of last year and the ‘London’ scent is expected sometime this year.
Now the entrepreneurial pair behind the brand has set its sights on shaking up fragrance retail in the industry’s toughest market – Japan. 'We want to revolutionise perfume usage in Japan. We are tired of people telling us that it doesn’t work,' says Roshi. 'Our mission is to educate Japanese customers in the art of perfume.'
The store is situated in an architecturally minimal concrete and glass cube featuring a photo gallery on a mezzanine level – thereby aligning the olfactory world with that of art and design and bestowing it with creative clout for its cautious audience.
The interior references elements of the New York store, but blends them into the more modern structure. The educational side of the project is being offered via regular workshops. ‘We are determined to change perfume perception in Japan,’ says Roshi, and we feel sure they will.