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An Invitation From Le Labo Fragrances

Exclusive Photography by Riccardo Perdisa.


In Milan, Italy on a rainy weekday in May, I step into the Le Labo Fragrances laboratory after receiving what seemed like a timely invitation to come in and get to know the brand up close. A lesson in alchemy seems perfectly timed for what feels like the horizon of a new era.

Le Labo grasse - new york milan, le labo fragrances

After the chaos of Covid and the personal crisis that ensued, which can only be described as extraordinary, Milan is finally feeling like home again.

With every new life chapter, starting from when I was a teen, there has been a perfume that leaves an imprint, like a time capsule that activates instantly and without warning, the moment you sense it. Immense details, sounds, and faces that were so familiar come forward from some hidden back room of my memory with just the passing waft of a familiar perfume on a busy street. In addition to the wave of visceral memories, the perfume takes me back to my mindset then, of who I was and what I stood for, and makes me reflect on how those thoughts influenced who I am today.

Over the years I've become more deliberate about choosing a scent to act as a blueprint when I sense a new era approaching, as a way of setting intentions for the next cycle. While it's been time to move on from my former perfume, rich and spicy with rare black rose and tobacco notes, this time I felt I needed a nudge, which lo and behold, came right on time, in the form of an invitation from Le Labo.

Le Labo Fragrances is a brand and perfumer that connects with people by distilling their unique stories in each bottle. Using the highest quality raw materials, the lab blends the client's selection on-site, and then custom prints a label indicating the location where it was mixed, and by whom it was bottled. Even more, they ask you what or whom it's for and then add that onto the label.

Le Labo Fragrances is a brand and perfumer that connects with people by distilling their unique stories in each bottle.

Arriving at the centuries old building in the bustling Brera neighborhood, the small space feels almost sacred with exposed stone and wooden rafters, made comfortable by the welcoming staff.

We were greeted by Matteo who patiently and passionately explained the products, the ingredients, and the company's cruelty-free techniques. Encouraged by the incredible options, I let my mind wander. Each scent has it's own story and after some deliberation, I found mine.

A bold, determined scent, daring and full of cerebral scenery, I chose a perfume that I later learned was dreamed up by one of my favorite fashion and art magazines, Another Magazine.

With apothecary jars full of ingredients, a wash basin with products to try, and shelves full of intriguing bottles, there is no lack of atmosphere while you wait for your perfume to be mixed, a fascinating process you can watch through the small window to the tiny workspace. Mattia went from being our smartly dressed olfactory guide to popping on goggles and in a labcoat. With trained precision, he mixed my perfume and prepared a label, before giving me instructions to let it infuse for a couple days prior to using it..

My Le Labo fragrance is called ANOTHER 13. The higher notes like pear, apple, and citrus actually reflect flavors and seasons I'm wild about, and the middle notes of ambrette (a musk mellow) and moss are reminiscent of the moss covered land I grew up around in rainy Portland, Oregon.

My choice in perfume launches me into a new era, reflecting a profound attitude I've already been wearing and am ready to carry with me everywhere on my skin. Perfumes and scents can be a personal choice and when given a worthy mind space, can even transport you backward or forward in time, capturing and declaring what will certainly be some of your finest moments.

perfume box, Le Labo grasse - new york milan, le labo fragrances

Melissa Lupo Look Details

Blouse: Stella McCartney

Suede Skirt: Vintage, from Sous Vintage Milan

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