Fabrice Penot, co-creator of NYC perfume brand Le Labo was in Chicago last week launching his newest fragrance Baie Rose 26, a scent that is made exclusively for Chicago! "Soft" launching it, may be more appropriate to say, because that is the way that he said he prefers to introduce their products. Most customers of Le Labo become followers once they experience the fragrance for themselves or from noticing it on others.
When I was was greeted by Fabrice, he said with his charming French accent, "I went to hug you since I am wearing the scent, and I want you to experience it." I would have wanted to hug him anyway, since he is so cute and handsome! But yes, there here certainly was a wonderful fragrance surrounding him.
He also has a ton of passion for his brand. "I like to light a little fire, and then the big fire takes place…" he went on to describe how his scents take off and become popular.
The fragrances are so fresh they stay refrigerated at Barneys.
SCS: Are your fragrances for both men and women?
Fabrice Penot: There is no gender in Le Labo perfumes. They can be for both. And if someone tells you that a certain scent will smell different on a man or a woman, that is just not true. A scent is a scent.
SCS: This is really exciting – that you designed a fragrance for Chicago. Have you been here before? And what influenced you?
Fabrice Penot: Yes I have been here several times, and Chicago was a huge fantasy ever since I was a kid watching gangster movies. I also noticed cool wind on my back – that was an influence too! The speakeasies with gangsters and pretty ladies listening to jazz music and sipping martinis until dawn. There is link between perfume and music. Perfume is created in a composition, there are effective notes and softer notes just like jazz music. To get it right we play with the formula. You know when it is not done right – like in an elevator! Or some fragrances I think make be okay for a while, but you would never play it at home!
SCS: I noticed that the packaging is really nice and simple. The candles are in dented tin cans!
Fabrice Penot: The packaging follows the art of Imperfection, or the Japanese philosophy Wabi-sabi, or acceptance of transience. We don't spend money on the packaging rather in the ingredients. The bottles are lab bottles, and you get 20% off if you bring back your bottle.
SCS: Is Barneys in Chicago the only place where anyone can get Baie Rose 26?
Fabrice Penot: Yes it is exclusive to Chicago.
SCS: What other cities have exclusive Le Labo scents?
Fabrice Penot: Tokyo, L.A., Paris, New York, London and Abu Dhabi.
After testing and loving Baie Rose 26, it looks like I have a lot of traveling ahead of me!
First travel to Barneys New York in Chicago (15 East Oak Street) where Patty will hand mix a blend Baie Rose 26 just for you, personalized with your name on the bottle. $400 for 100 ml and $260 for 50 ml. Sample the other hand made blends including the luscious Rose 31, $200 for 100ml which is their best-seller.
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