Behind The Brand: Diptyque
Utterly unique and instantly recognisable, the Diptyque candle has become synonymous with style, scenting the most chic of spaces from fashion shows to homes, shops to spas. But the foundations of the iconic fragrance house wasn’t always set in olfactory delights. Discover how their creative roots led to the evolution of the brand we know today…
For friends Christiane Gautrot, an interior designer and Desmond Knox-Leet a painter, it was not fragrance which drew them into their initial collaboration, but a shared aesthetic and love of design. Starting out with designing exquisite prints for fabrics and wallpaper for brands including Sanderson, in 1961 they were joined by Yves Coueslant a theatre director and set designer, who shared their creative vision. The trio opened the store in Paris on 34 boulevard Saint-Germain, to display their stunning designs and showcase a wealth of eclectic items from their colourful travels around the world.
Understanding the role of scent in creating the ultimate interiors experience, candles were soon introduced - three key scents in particular; Aubépine (Hawthorn), Cannelle (Cinnamon) and Thé (Tea). And, taking inspiration from the shape of an 18th century medallion from Ancient Rome, first used on fabric designed by Desmond Knox-Leet in 1963, that classic emblematic oval of the Diptyque label was born.
Continuing their foray into fragrance, the trio developed their first signature eau de toilette in 1968 called L’Eau. A unisex scent designed for sharing, it took inspiration from the delicious fragrance of pomanders and potpourri. All Diptyque scents both old and new pay tribute to nature, with olfactory blends meticulously crafted to capture and convey the enticing essence for its wearer. From tree resins to spices, orientals to florals and everything in between, inspired by the far-flung corners of the world, Diptyque creates an ever evolving seasonal scent wardrobe as individual as the wearer themselves.
The craftsmanship behind the candles is what makes Diptyque so unique. “It’s the raw materials, the quality - that’s what sets us apart,” says Julie Bonin, Fragrance Expert at Diptyqye. “Depending on the scent, it’s not the same dosage of wax for every single scent and not the same amount of mineral wax we use - it depends on how the essential oils will burn so we adjust it accordingly. Also, depending on the scent we use either one or two wicks - which are tied together which you don’t see. Sometimes we use two because the scent won’t burn so well with just one so it’s to ensure all of our candles burn equally well. It’s all about understanding and working with the raw ingredients.”
For finding the perfect Diptyqye fragrance, Julie adds; “We encourage customers to layer fragrances to create something that’s really more personal. The scents need to have something in common, but a lot of customers will like to layer depending on what they are doing - so will wear one scent for day then add a new one on top for a more evening scent.”
And to celebrate the origins of the brand, Diptyque have the 34 Collection - perfect for those looking for the rarer scents. “We launched it for our 50th anniversary in 2011 - then every year in September we launch new guest products - often limited edition. Before we sold candles in boulevard St Germain, our founders would sell objects from their travels - Christian one of our founders would make glass bead necklaces so that has provided inspiration for some of these designs. We have a limited edition anniversary fragrance which we launch each year and it is always has the same name but it focuses on a different flower each year - it is from the best house quality harvest from the previous year. Previously it was Jasmin, then there will be a new flower this September.”
From candles to fragrance, body cream to diffusers, Diptyque offers a complete fragrance fitting in its stores, designed to help you discover your perfect scent wardrobe.
Three Candle Tips From Diptyque:
1. "Our candles burn for 60 hours so always make sure that when it's new and you light it for the first time you leave it to burn for at least a couple of hours just so the first layer of wax is completely melted. Wax has a memory so if you don’t leave it long enough it will just stop and then burn down in a well. Then you feel like you’ve wasted the wax. This will ensure it burns evenly."
2. "Always trim the wick. It should never be longer than the length it is when new otherwise you’ll get black smoke which is not pretty and will make the glass dirty. Always recentre it when you blow it out, adjust the position of the wick. Push gently with wick trimmers or scissors."
3. "With three wick candles, they need to always be trimmed and recentred in their own space otherwise you will get one wick which will just drown in the wax and not burn down. Maintaining the wicks will ensure the entire candle burns effectively."
Discover Diptyque at Harrods and mix and match your scents with some of our favourites below...