Inside fancy fragrance brand Le Labo’s new Queen West flagship

Inside fancy fragrance brand Le Labo’s new Queen West flagship

Founded in New York by former Armani perfumiers Edouard Roschi and Fabrice Penot, Le Labo’s hand-crafted fragrances already had a following in Toronto. The brand’s new Trinity Bellwoods shop carries 15 different eau de parfums (blended on-the-spot and printed with a personalized label), and the walls are lined with aromatic goodies like candles, bath oils and fancy laundry detergent.

When shoppers bring in an empty bottle of their signature scent, it can be refilled for 20 per cent off—when you’re shelling out over $200 per bottle, that discount matters. (Every step of Le Labo’s process is completed by hand, from sourcing Tahitian gardenia to distressing tin containers, which is how they get away with charging $500 for a candle.) The company says their stores are inspired by the Japanese aesthetic of “wabi-sabi,” which emphasizes the beauty of imperfection: pristine glass bottles are presented on rustic wooden display cases and refurbished vintage furniture, including one seriously ancient sink.

Part of the walls are covered in (purposely) unfinished tile:

 
Here’s a closer look at the wallpaper pattern that lines the rest of the store:

 
Le Labo’s products are all vegan, paraben-free and genderless. Le Labo makes 15 scents, and for first-timers they also peddle “discovery sets” with small samples of each one ($87):

 
These five are the most popular. The 50mL bottles sell for $195 a pop:

 
The shelf life of perfume is only a couple of years, which is why Le Labo mixes all fragrances in the lab upon purchase:

 
The refrigerated oil formulas are pre-mixed in glass bottles, so staff just have to add water and alcohol:

 
Shoppers can choose what to print on their custom labels, which hold 23 characters (including spaces):

 
Candles are all hand-poured in Mississippi, and these ones burn for 65 hours ($90):

 
This concrete candle has four wicks, and will burn for over 150 hours ($540):

 
This laundry detergent ($50) is meant for hand-washing delicates, like lingerie:

 
Now that Toronto has a Le Labo location, it means the brand will create a signature scent that represents the city, which will only be available at the Toronto store:

 
The safe is purely for decoration, but the engraving machine above it is used for carving initials into the metal cases of products like its solid perfume:

 
They also sell a book on their brand’s philosophy, called Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers, by Leonard Koren:

 
Shoppers can educate themselves while lounging in this extremely comfortable vintage leather chair: