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Le Labo's fragrances

MAKES PERFECT SCENTS Perhaps it’s the childhood memory of my mother’s syrupy Issey Miyake perfume clogging my nostrils that repelled me from...

MAKES PERFECT SCENTS Perhaps it’s the childhood memory of my mother’s syrupy Issey Miyake perfume clogging my nostrils that repelled me from perfume all these years…so to this day, I’ve bought only one bottle of perfume (in seventh grade). But after taking one whiff of Le Labo’s fragrances last month, when I met with cofounder Fabrice Penot at Barneys New York, my nose had a change of heart. The woodsy, musky base characteristic of Le Labo’s fragrances drew me in; the industrial-chic packaging sealed the deal. Hand-mixed on site (either at Barneys or in one of the three storefronts in Los Angeles, New York and Tokyo) with a customized printed label, the limited selection of perfumes ranges from Iris 39 to Vetiver 46—the names describe the main essence and the number of ingredients. In addition to the 11 staple scents, Le Labo has whipped up six city fragrances, available only in that city—a fact that undoubtedly peeves the French brand’s cult followers. But embracing the holiday spirit, Le Labo is pushing aside its anti-globalization efforts for a month. Through the end of November, shoppers can stop by Barneys for a rare whiff of all six city exclusives and pre-order one of the 25 bottles of each scent for sale (orders ship ten days after they’re placed). Indeed, they don’t come cheap, but think of it this way: If you’re like me and purchase perfume every 15 years, a few hundred bucks won’t break the bank. $260–$400 at Barneys (15 E Oak St, 312-587-1700, barneys.com; lelabofragrances.com).

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