An Oriental Powder for a Beauty of the Evening or When Le Labo went to Anthropologie

 

Anthropologie isn’t my style. Over years I bought a couple of items there but mostly things they sell leave me cold. What I do like about that chain is what they’re trying to do regarding perfumes.

I’m not a huge Le Labo fan: while I like and enjoy wearing several perfumes in the line, most of their creations (and those from the city exclusive line in particular) are not worth their price for me. Nevertheless, I went and tried all five perfumes “By The Creators Of Le Labo” once those were released as their collaboration with Anthropologie in 2010.

I didn’t dislike them but none of them made me reach for my wallet. They were nice, they were much more reasonably priced ($62 for 2 oz bottle), they were available … and as a result much less desirable. Once in a while I’d stop by the store, smell them all again, try Belle Du Soir that I liked the most and think that I should get it eventually.

Two years later when I finally decided to add Belle Du Soir to my collection it was too late: it was gone from both the website and the closest store. Judith (unseen censer) who was more decisive (or just more spontaneous?) sent me a decant of Belle Du Soir from the bottle she’d got.

Le Labo Belle Du SoirAnthropologie site describes Belle Du Soir as “musky and rich, neroli, water lily and gardenia float above notes of cedar, sandalwood and patchouli (SPICE).” It’s not a phenomenal creation; perfumistas do not rave about it. But I noticed that since I got that decant I wore Belle Du Soir more often than some of my most favorite perfumes. Once or twice I thought that Belle Du Soir smelled more masculine than I cared for but all in all I like it and especially in the drydown.

In the opening statement I stressed “trying” part because there are aspects of the Anthropologie’s perfume business with which I disagree.

First of all, not only the assortment of perfumes varies from store to store but in different locations perfumes are usually scattered all over the place so it’s not easy to figure out if the store actually carries a brand you’re looking for. Asking SAs proved to be fruitless since they were barely aware of the fact that there were any perfumes in the store.

In addition to that, most stores where I tried to test perfumes had no test strips anywhere in sight. I understand that the younger demographic they cater to has no problems spraying a random perfume they’ve just smelled from the nozzle all over themselves but I have to be creative every time finding a napkin in my purse or just spraying it into the air and smelling it this way.

And finally, Anthropologie tends to phase out perfumes after a while. It’s not a big problem in case of the established brands that just move their offerings to different venues. But in case with such special editions they just go away – and they’re gone.

Good part about it is that before disappearing those perfumes go on sale and then you can get some of them almost free (and I’m not talking in $100-new-free perfumista terms).

During one such sale in addition to Belle Du Soir I also got Poudre D’Orient – my second favorite from the line. Poudre D’Orient is described as “exotic aromas of violet leaves, patchouli, vanilla and suede musk (FRESH).”

Le Labo Poudre D'OrientHave you tried any of the perfumes from the line? Do you think they “smell like Le Labo”? Do you like bottles design?

I want to share two 5 ml decants (one of each perfume) with one reader. The conditions are simple: I’ll mail it anywhere in the world if you’ve previously commented on my blog; for new followers I want to limit participation by the U.S. Just let me know in your comment that you want to be entered into the draw. You have until 23:59 PDT, August 27, 2013 to enter.

I liked these two reviews by Brian (I Smell Therefor I Am) and by Shera Pop (Il Mondo di Odore). If you haven’t tried these perfumes read the reviews to see if it’s something you might like.

 

Images: Anthropologie website

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39 thoughts on “An Oriental Powder for a Beauty of the Evening or When Le Labo went to Anthropologie

  1. I haven’t tried anything from the line. I think I’ve set foot in an Anthropologie store once in my entire life — and I’m not wholly certain of that. (I have looked at their website for duvet covers, though. Never bought anything, ever.)

    Your comment about Belle du Soir perhaps being a bit too masculine for you, in conjunction with the notes, made me think it might be something I’d like. So I’d appreciate a chance to be entered in your very generous drawing. Thank you so much for the opportunity. :) As for Le Labo, well, like you, I’m not wholly convinced it’s my sort of brand. So much damn ISO E Super in some of them. Gah!

    ps – I chuckled out loud at: “and I’m not talking in $100-new-free perfumista terms.” Heh, so true about our completely distorted economy of scale. :)

    • #1 (for the draw)

      I have some concerns about Belle du Soir and Iso E Super but I’ll let you be a judge (I’m not 100% sure it has it though it might).

      Companies are trying to train us to pay even more for perfumes. I’m appalled by the recent price jerk with Chanel’s Exclusifs line. Those perfumes are good but a 25% hike?!

  2. I’ve never tried anything from this line nor have I heard of them before. They sound very interesting though and would love to try them. If they are similar to Le Labo fragrances, I doubt I would rush to go buy a full bottle of the stuff anyway . Please enter me in the draw. Thanks

  3. I have heard of Le Lobo never tryed any though. I love a certain hair product that is not made anymore. I got lucky to snag 4 bottles resonably priced.Now i use it sparingly, when its gone its really gone foreva. I follow your blog by e-mail. i would like to enter the drawing.

    • #4 (for the draw)

      These are not regular Le Labo perfumes so if you get to try them you shouldn’t extend your impressions from them to the whole Le Labo line. But they are worth trying on their own.

  4. I don’t think I ever tried anything by Anthropologie but I do like the bottles.
    The notes for Poudre d’Orient sound relatively ok, but the Belle de Soir one sounds like it could be very good on me, or very bad (neroli, musk and water lily tend not to always work for me).
    I have to say it again – I really like the bottles. :)

    • #5 (for the draw)

      When I saw these bottles first I didn’t like them but as time passed I’ve changed my mind: they are nicely made, heavy and with a solid cap. It doesn’t look cheap.

  5. I find the store to be frustrating for the same reason you do. I’ve seen people talking about a great sale on such and such a perfume and I make the effort to get to the closest store only to find out they don’t have that line at that store. I wander in once in a while but finding the fragrances is like looking for buried treasures. Usually now I just check out the clearance room and leave. The one day i found something good the line at the registers was crazy long and the SA’s were slow and incompetent so I put the perfume down and walked out. It was a good price but some days my patience can only be tested so much.

    • #6 (for the draw)

      I did leave without making a purchase because of the long and slow line on a couple of occasions. But with these perfumes I got lucky (and now I want to share that luck).

  6. I’m not familiar with the fragrances done for Anthropologie by Le Labo perfumers. Actually I’ve never heard of those!

    But I like the design of brownish glass bottles, they make me think of old apothecary vials, most of the chemical compounds (acids, bases, etc) are kept in the glass bottles of similar color.

    • #7 (for the draw)

      I think they did have those apothecary bottles in mind with this design. As I mentioned in the comment above, I didn’t like those bottles first but later changed my mind and now I think they are kind of cool. Especially for the price.

  7. I once tried some Anthropologie perfumes in a store in Chicago – it was March 2011, so whatever was in stock then, but none of their names have stayed with me. I don’t *think* it was these though, as I would have thought I would have remembered the brown bottles.

    I very much like the sound of both the scents you like best, and I see that they are also Brian’s favourites. And I quite agree about the haphazard merchandising of the store’s perfume collection. The ones I tried were dotted about on tables amongst the clothes – could be that these were also there and I just didn’t spot them!

    • #8 (for the draw)

      Poudre D’Orient should be more your style than Belle but you never know with perfumes, which one’s whisper will be the sweetest ;)

  8. I have enjoyed my sale priced Poudre d”Orient very much. And find the bottles rather appealing with the paper stamps. I don’t buy clothing for myself at Anthropologie (one of my daughters likes their clothes a lot) but I really enjoy walking through their stores. I am attracted to the attic full of treasures feel. What is hidden in that nook over there in the corner and look at this beautiful cabinet hardware next to the old fashioned aprons. Not for everyone, but I find the experience charming.

    • Would you still like to be entered into the draw for Belle du Soir?

      I know that many people like dishes and other kitchen stuff from Anthropologie. It’s just completely not my style and I get bored going through things I have no use for. But I enjoy how they decorate their stores.

  9. I know what you mean about the perfumes being scattered all over the store. On one hand, it’s a scavenger hunt. On the other, you don’t know if you missed something. I really liked this collection and these two were my favorites from it. I really am kicking myself, actually, that I didn’t grab these two at the low price. And there was an orange-y one that was nice too I think. Really annoying that they are so GONE now. Luckily the Anthropologie exclusive Inekes seem to have moved over to her personal site.

    No need to enter me for this as I’ve already tried them. :)

    • If I had any of the Anthropologie stores closer to where I live and could go there alone for the hunting I wouldn’t have probably minded the adventure. But I usually get to there accompanied by my vSO who gets extremely bored in there so I’m trying to minimize the damage every time we go there by finding and testing everything I want as quickly as possible. That’s why I hate that I cannot find all perfumes just in one spot with blotters ready to be used.

      • I live close to an Anthro, but the one close me doesn’t carry much perfume. Luckily the Anthro downtown, which tends to carry all the perfume lines, is right next to our wonderful local record store and local bookstore. So my husband will go to those and browse while I smell.

  10. I remember these. I liked them at the time, but didn’t buy them. I think the bottles are interesting. The tops remind me of Bakelite. Please enter me in the drawing.

    • #9 (for the draw)

      I learned a new word today (had to go to Wikipedia to read about Bakelite) :) You’re right, it looks similar to what I see on pictures.

  11. Undina, no need to enter me in your drawing. Just wanted to say that I certainly hope someone from Anthropologie reads your post and takes your advice. I’ve never been to one of their stores, but I don’t care for a scattered and disorganized approach to displaying merchandise. It makes no sense when people are usually short on time, even on a Saturday, when they’re trying to make the most use of their leisure time. The worst, though, is when you go to a store expecting to find the product they tout as being carried there – only to be told that it’s not carried at this particular location.

    • ps, on second thought, I guess their approach does make sense conceptually, given the name of the store. I didn’t think about that – and maybe enough people do enjoy the dig for treasure approach?

      • Suzanne, you made me laugh with your idea of archeological discoveries at the store.

        One more of my pet peeves related to stores is their approach to move sections or brands on the floor. I prefer knowing where I can find what I’m looking for without spending 15 minutes navigating in the new layout. When I have time or if I’m looking for ideas I will go through the floor and will see new brands or offerings from those for which I do not normally care. But when I need a pair of socks I do not need to conquer first an Accessories department that suddenly appeared on my route.

  12. Dearest U
    I think we have Anthroplogie here…are they upmarket furnishing and ‘lifestyle’ stores with cushions and cardigans mixed up and all set out against a back drop of the well heeled doing what they do best i.e. dispersing their cash on over priced goods?
    If so the one I went into had a large number of ceramic owls, which caught my eye, but nothing much by way of perfume. If the sales are that good I may have to pop in again when I swing by that part of town again.
    Thanking you for the tip.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    • I wonder if it’s even the same Anthropologie… Ok, I just read in Wikipedia that they have stores in Europe ao it might be it. Check it out the next time you get a chance just to know if they carry any perfumes in general. If yes then you can try to catch the next sale.
      I guess you do not want to be entered into the draw – right?

      • Dearest U
        Ooops. No need to enter The Dandy in the draw.
        I checked Anthropologie online too and they are the same…. very chi chi they are here, I walked passed one yesterday, on the King’s Road, I may pop in another time to see whether there are some scented bargains inside.
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

  13. This sounds rather up my alley, so the chance of a sample seems to be enough to lure me out of lurking. I do live in the US, please enter me.

  14. I’ve noticed those bottles along with the other Le Labos at Fragrantica and wondered about them. Now I know a little bit more and both scents sound good. I especially like how Sherapop compares Poudre d’Orient to Infusion d’Iris. I seem to have a thing for Infusion d’Iris at the moment, I don’t own a bottle it but whenever I see a tester I spray it on, it’s good it’s so commonplace :)

    • #11 (for the draw)

      I like Infusion D’Iris but I didn’t make that connection (by memory). I’ll need to try them in parallel but probably it just smells diferently for my nose. We’ll ask whoever wins the draw what they think ;)
      Good luck!

  15. Both of these sound lovely, Undina! I am feeling lucky so please enter me in the draw.

    Back in June, when baconbiscuit and I did our NYC sniffa, we passed by Anthropologie and decided to pop in to see if there were bargain (i.e. under $25 “free”) perfumes still available. Alas, the only one available was Sweet William by Ineke which I promptly purchased (forgot the size but remember it being less than $15 so technically, according to my perfume math, if I bought another perfume for for $35, it is still “free” since I still had the $10 left over from Sweet William…but I digress).

    Aaaaanyway, as to the bottle design, I do like it.

    Finally, in terms of the tag-line “by the creators of Le Labo”, I’m not so certain that the target audience for the Anthropologie brand (younger starter chi-chi) is the same as for Le Labo (more refined CHI-CHI).

    Thanks for the generous draw!

    • #12 (for the draw)

      baconbiscuit was actually the one who got me Poudre D’Orient bottle on sale (and a couple more “books” from the Floral Curiosities collection).

      This “by the creators…” still sounds a little strange for me since creators of Le Labo aren’t perfumers themselves… But whatever it was one way or the other it worked: some people maybe learned a new name; some got a bargain bottle ;)

  16. I just read Brian’s review and they sound quite nice, so I’d like to be entered in the draw…:)

    I like occasionally browsing at Anthropologie; I think I might have sprayed some scents to test too (I am not sure on what I sprayed though..). I don’t expect to buy anything there which makes browsing more enjoyable…:D

    • The lucky #13 (for the draw)

      Before Le Labo and Ineke came along I was also just randomly testing something without any further plans. The same goes for their clothes.

  17. I’m so glad you liked the Belle du Soir decant. Interesting what we want after we think we’ve already dismissed it, isn’t it?

    I was so pleased with Anthropologie and Le Labo just for doing a line of perfumes that aren’t fruity florals. I find it fascinating what they have for their customers to buy in the line of perfumes. It is tough, as you say, that their SAs are not trained at all in those lines. I do love sniffing there but am annoyed that their things come and go so quickly.

    In other realms of annoyance, I bought Amara at Anthropologie, finally, and it was not as good as its original formulation I smelled with the perfumer who created it. Very annoying and I don’t even want to blog about it as I love that perfumer so much. I applaud Anthropologie for doing different things; I wish both that the mass-market version of the perfume had been better and that the line had done better business there. (Not that I’m probably making much sense – big lack of sleep today…)

    • I tried Amara recently (it was on the huge sale) but it wasn’t special enough for me to buy it.

      Have you heard: there is a new line by Yosh for Anthropologie. They have it online already but I’m not sure if I can find them at the store. I’ll try to check it out soon (it’s relatively far from where I live).

      Would you like to get a decant of Poudre D’Orient?

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