.Mash Up: Heritage meets Design
The story of Diptyque began in Paris at 34 boulevard Saint-Germain, where three friends Christiane Gautrot, Desmond Knox-Leet and Yves Coueslant were driven by the same creative passion. Gautrot and Knox-Leet collaborated, designing fabrics and wallpaper for London store Liberty and Sanderson the British wallpaer brand. In 1961, they were joined by Coueslant where together they opened a shop to display and sell their own plain and print soft furnishings. Furthermore, they were also offering famous English perfumes that were unknown in France at that time. The candles that they created for the store were ultimately what set the business apart and where the brand was enabled to grow into the business it is today – one that changed the world of scent forever. After all there are now many candles out in the marketplace but very few come near to the quality of Diptyque. One of the most impressive features of the Diptyque brand is that it has the most wonderful heritage of which it regularly immerses itself within, in order to stay as relevant and honest as possible to the brands originators. Part of this vision is why Diptyque offer more than just candles and fragrances as the brand now can show off the best of the homeware collection they have. An expanded shop now open within Liberty London selling much of the homeware including diffusers , cushions, notebooks and more. It’s a chance to be part of the heritage and even get to take it home with you. A celebration if you like of their roots for all to share.
In fact the journey of discovery really started again with the celebration of their fifty years anniversary in 2011, because the brand set itself a new challenge. It was to be “odour thieves” and therefore to capture the scent of the flagship store at 34 Boulevard Saint-Germain, Paris 5e, inspired by the novel “Perfume” by German author Patrick Süskind. Diptyque wanted to capture that complex symphony and bottle it, so that everyone has the chance to experience a small portion of the place and its history. This is how the unique fragrance “34 boulevard saint germain” was born. An original concept at the time..to capture the smell of a room. The collection now constantly grows paying homage to the very first boutique and its founders whilst striving to enchant novel creations reminiscent of the past whilst being a timeless testament to a long tradition of craftsmanship.
Every year since the launch of “The 34 collection”, Diptyque has chosen an exceptional harvest to which it has dedicated a specific fragrance. In 2016, they chose a field of May Roses in Grasse which inspired their new scent “Essences Insensées”. Perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin is a Diptyque accomplice for more than ten years and he said that he “used several different yet complementary rose extracts to create this unique composition”. For this fragrance, Pellegrin focused on a single aspect of the remarkable airy rose centifolia, Provence’s cabbage rose which is its concrete, a concentrate destined to become an absolute that resembles thick wax. On the skin, the perfume is balm-like with honey and red fruit accents. The rose fragrance is presented in an unusual glass bottle developed by Waltersperger, a 100-year-old firm that creates high-end perfume, wine and spirits bottles for top-name luxury brands. A stylish geometric onyx bottle is designed to resemble a fine-cut precious gem. Additionally, the “Essences Insensées” bottled perfumes and the solid version are wrapped in paper illustrated by Jeanne Detallante, known for her distinct work with colour and drawing for fashion, children’s books and the press.
Another scent of “The 34 Collection” is “La Madeleine”. It is a scented candle inspired by the diptyque founder’s home in Normandy which was previously the post office where Marcel Proust used to send his mail. Excited by that, Product Creation Director Myriam Basalt came up with the scent of delicious madeleine, refreshingly lemony and comfortingly fluffy inside, just like the one described by Marcel Proust in his novel “Swann’s way”. This scented candle resembles the famous Dax madeleines made by the Cazelle bakery and its porcelain holder is made by the NG Oficina de Porcelanas in Portugal. They collaborated with several different museums and are celebrating their 3oth anniversary in 2016. For “La Madeleine”, they designed a holder that combines the chalky texture of earthenware with the smoothness of the black enamel that surrounds the edge.
Also new this season is Kimonanthe eau de parfum A highly unusual creation made with exotic, succulent, complex osmanthus blossoms combined with Japanese incense. The notes are camphor, cloves, sandalwood, spices, and leather. Fabrice Pellegrin the nose that heads this perfume and one that has worked with Diptyque for many years says of the fragance he wanted to ‘create a bouquet of osmanthus rooted in an infusion of incense.’ A usual with this range the bottle is specially designed and made of cracked glass and like the previous Collection 34 opuses, Kimonanthe has a very unique resin cap, created by a fashion jewellery and accessories specialist inspired by the beaded necklaces that Diptyque’s co-founder, Christiane Gautrot, used to make for their 34 Boulevard Saint Germain store, so yet again the heritage creeps in, in the most delightful if not subtle of ways.
Yet another yet surprising candle holder is the Customised Mirror candle. A glass candle holder with slightly marbled mirror behind which reflects the candle’s flame, boosting its light. Attached to its base, the disc-shaped mirror adjusts to the candle’s changing height using the dial on its spine. Instantly, the flame appears to be crowned by a hypnotic, almost mesmerising malachite halo, reminiscent of the back wall in the 34 Boulevard Saint Germain store.
Then there are the folding and unfolding light which at first glimpse looks like a classic table lamp. But in fact, it’s a glass candle holder with three paper corollas that can be chosen to go under the glass dome to create a pattern when the light diffuses through after the candle is lit. The first pattern is called Prétorien because it echoes Diptyque’s founding legacy – the oval, a geometric shape still found today on all of the brand’s candles. The second option, a perforated tangle of birds, was created by Anamorphée – a duo of Parisian designers who regularly collaborate with the brand in designing printed materials and one-of-a kind designs. Finally, the third paper shade design is the brainchild of Créanog, an art studio specialising in waffling and hot stamping techniques.
Next is the rather intriguing Carousel. This object is inspired by a collection of curiosities, and kitschy, off-the-wall Christmas decorations. The cut-out metal, lays on the edges of a 70 gram candle, and once the flame is lit, the heat generates a current of air that makes the birds dance around the candle. Quite a delightful element that brings a candle to life.