chic or geek

a mildly aspirational blog of my life, times, and taste

le labo

want: The Laundress X Le Labo Santal 33

lifestyle, shoppingAnna KellerComment
le labo santal 33.png

Living in Vermont, we are woefully late to most major trends. Some may consider this is a positive thing, as we’re protected from consumerist whims, but I, as a futurist by trade and an early adopter by choice, feel left out from major trends that pop up on the streets of New York and in my Discover page on Instagram.

I have to get on a plane to participate in the latest meal-in-a-bowl craze, and scour the deep links of the internet to find a trendy shoe at a manageable price point. We don’t have many retail options up here, even in the “city” of Burlington, and we only get to participate in a major trend if it stands the test of time.

Trends are interesting beasts. the cycle from niche > aspirational > accessible > oversaturated is faster every year, and since it’s my job to seek out rising brands and products for work, I find myself lusting over niche products but having a hard time accessing them up here. I find myself wanting things as they shift from niche to aspirational, but can’t source a site with it in stock fast enough. Then an item moves into the accessible and oversaturated phases way too fast, and suddenly it’s on to the next thing. Or so the internet tells me.

About two years ago, I had my first experience with the intoxicating woody notes of Le Labo perfume. I was entranced by it, initially thrown off. In Vermont, you get called out for wearing overt fragrance. If you don’t smell like a combination of maple sap, Dr Bronner’s, and the great outdoors, it makes you different, a little uppity, and certainly vain. I’m perfectly fine being labeled any of those things, but the Le Labo fragrances are so pervasive, I knew that I wasn’t ready in to what I considered my first very adult fragrance decision.

I couldn’t shake the idea of it, though, no matter how hard I tried. Le Labo started popping up in Top Shelves and Instagram posts everywhere I looked. Walking down the streets of Soho, I would be hit by frequent waves of something I later identified as Santal 33. I loved it. it smelled so good, so expensive, and so different from my every day.

Maison Louis Marie candle at the OV Austin flagship store

I settled on Glossier You as my daily perfume when it launched, mostly because of the comparisons many made to it as a much more subtle cousin of a Le Labo fragrance. I picked up the Maison Louis Marie No. 04 Bois de Balincourt candle for the same reason (they were burning it in the Outdoor Voices Austin flagship store when I visited and immediately needed it).

Now, Le Labo Santal 33 has been declared basic. It’s hit mass saturation, and has lost its cult appeal the more popular it became. I even caught whiffs of it at my boyfriend’s company party. I was impressed and immediately wanted to be that wearer’s friend, mostly because it meant she and I had common scent preferences all the way up here in the fragrance-free Green Mountain State.

Since I yearned for it for so long, I’m not quite ready to let my dreams fade and say goodbye to it, even if I should be looking for the next thing. It’s how I feel about Ugg boots, or AirPods. The heart wants what the heart wants.

As a compromise to myself, I think I’ll purchase it in a slightly more unique format: as a laundry detergent. Spending $45 on a Tide-alternative isn’t basic, right? And maybe that’ll give me the push that I need to do laundry a little more often in 2019. With Santal 33 waiting for me in our linen closet, I can’t see myself waiting for my hamper to overflow too aggressively before solving the dilemma of dirty clothes with one chic bottle of detergent.