Ever enduring and irresistibly covetable, Diptyque has become synonymous with style, scenting the most elegant of spaces with its candles and reinventing fragrance with its worldly inspiration; but the foundations of the iconic fragrance house weren’t always set in olfactory delights…
For friends Christiane Gautrot, an interior designer, and painter Desmond Knox-Leet, it wasn’t fragrance that first drew them together, but rather a shared love of design. Along with set designer Yves Couselant, the trio travelled the world to inspire their first venture, fabric design. In 1959, they opened their first store in Paris on 34 Boulevard Saint-Germain to display the suite of their designs and showcase a wealth of eclectic items from their global travels.
It was in light of the success of a range of coloured candles they had created to complement their fabrics that, in 1963, at the advice of their candle maker, three scented candles were introduced. Desmond, a keen calligrapher, set out to create a brand emblem to adorn the candles and, in the same year, the black and white oval based on an 18th century medallion, complete with dancing letters and an evocative fragrance scene, was born.
Diptyque’s first eau de toilette was created in 1968 as part of a natural progression from scenting the home into scenting oneself. L’Eau, a unisex scent, took inspiration from the oriental spices of pomanders and potpourri, with notes of cinnamon and cloves entwined with rose. Today, an evolution of the original scent, L’Ombre Dans L’Eau, with its fresh blackcurrant leaves and sensual rose, is one of Diptyque’s hero fragrances, and sister to the infamous Baies candle.
Each scent is meticulously crafted to be as unique as the wearer themselves.
And Diptyque’s tribute to worldly influences still remains; from tree resins and spices to orientals and florals, and everything in between – think sea fennel mixed with roasted coffee in Florabellio and osmanthus paired with leather in Kimonanthe. Inspired by scents from the far-flung corners of the world, Diptyque’s unique combinations creates an ever-evolving fragrance wardrobe as individual as the wearer themselves.
With 2018 marking 50 years since the creation of L’Eau, the fragrance house has created two scents in homage to their original sister. Patchouli has been revitalised in Tempo, which combines wet, fruity and earthy notes of the plant and culminates in a spicy, unisex fragrance. In contrast, Fleur de Peau, literally meaning flower of the skin, is a discreet, sensual fragrance containing iris offset by the brand’s synonymous musk.
Julie Bonin, Fragrance Expert at Diptyque, suggests finding the perfect fragrance is not in just one bottle: "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."
Going beyond fragrance...
As well as layering fragrances, a host of body treatments, skincare and hair mists can become part of a wider beauty routine, ensuring desired notes linger all day. Fresh Lotion for the Body offers a crowd-pleasing and uplifting scent of orange blossom and almond that’s light enough to layer with most Diptyque fragrances.
Not forgetting the candles…
No Diptyque collection is complete without a candle. Whether you choose fruity, woody, spicy or citrus notes, each Diptyque candle is crafted for maximum impact. "It’s the raw materials, the quality – that’s what sets us apart," says Julie. "Depending on the scent, it’s not the same dosage of wax for every candle and not the same amount of mineral wax we use – it depends on how the essential oils will burn, so we adjust it accordingly. It’s all about understanding and working with the raw ingredients."
How to get the most from your Diptyque candle:
1. "To make sure the candle burns evenly, leave it to burn for at least a couple of hours the first time you light it, or until 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," suggests Julie.
2. "Always trim the wick. It should never be longer than the length it is when new, or else you’ll get black smoke that makes the glass dirty. Always re-centre the wick when you blow it out; push it gently with wick trimmers or scissors."
3. "For three wick candles, always trim and re-centre each wick in its own space to avoid one wick drowning in the wax and not burning down. Maintaining the wicks will ensure the entire candle burns effectively."