Diptyque was founded by interior designer Christiane Gautrot, theatre set designer Yves Coueslant and Desmond Knox-Leet, a painter. The boutique was originally a bazaar of fabrics and exotic treasures unlike anything else in Paris. As demand grew, the trio quite literally followed their noses and began launching their own scented products – candles in 1963 and a unisex eau de toilette called L’Eau in 1968.
The brand’s early and enduring success comes down to creative chemistry, intuition and attention to detail. Desmond designed the instantly recognisable oval-shaped logo; his love of calligraphy lives on with every hand-drawn label.
The name of each product is written with black India ink and the letters dance around in poetic typography. To create the illustrated packaging, large sketches are refined until one aspect embodies the corresponding scent.
Similarly, each fragrance is inspired by a time, place or story. For example, the Paris en Fleur rose-scented candle was inspired by the city’s Bagatelle botanic garden. And to concoct the imperfectly elegant fragrance Eau Capitale, perfumer Olivier Pescheux chose rose, patchouli and pink peppercorns. This enigmatic mix of floral, woody and zesty notes is called a chypre scent, which has been described as the “epitome of parisienne chic”. Just like Diptyque.
The balanced blend of the scents used in the candle’s composition results in aromas that help create different atmospheres depending on the occasion, like a romantic dinner or a festive celebration, or simply for perfuming or lighting up a room. Also, there are Diptyque scents that have that je ne sais quoi that makes them so unique.
The brand’s products can calm our moods, reduce stress and relax the body after the daily routine. Not surprisingly many collections are sold out within days of their launch in the company’s exclusive boutiques in places like Madison Avenue in New York City, or Marylebone in London, to name just some of its outlets in different continents.
But he label’s real devotees should make the pilgrimage to Diptyque’s flagship boutique, located at 34 Boulevard Saint Germain in Paris.