Photography: Michail Androulidakis
Diptyque’s fragrances celebrate their 50th.
Diptyque, despite its respectable age, has not lost any of its vivacity nor its appetite for all that is avant-garde.
Forever loyal to its curiosity, its sense of refinement, and its delight in undertaking new endeavours, today it celebrates the 50th anniversary of its very first eau de toilette launch while simultaneously announcing the birth of two new creations. Respectively the 36th and 37th opuses in a constantly flourishing repertoire.
Having witnessed history, through its windows.
Having travelled the world, each and every continent,
met and loved so many people, famous or anonymous, from all cultures. Having looked through all these eyes, watched.
Collecting ideas and multiplying the surprises along the way,
(but not) having aged over time…
In Paris, in the early 1960s, driving around in Dauphines or DS19, 9 out of 10 French people don’t have a telephone and half don’t have a TV; the train takes seven hours to get from Paris to Marseille; the youth is rebelling and splitting into two groups: the dreamers who hitch hike all the way to Goa, and the angry ones who will soon become outraged.
However, during this same period, three happy artists manage a Parisian corner shop at 34 Boulevard Saint-Germain. Their names are Desmond (Knox-Leet), Christiane (Gautrot) and Yves (Coueslant). This painter, interior architect and theatre set designer are part of the great upheaval.
In this chic bazaar, predecessor to the concept store that they opened at the beginning of the decade, you can nd rare and wonderful things. Magical lanterns, precious toys, beautiful china and lovely notebooks. As well as a few homemade treasures including printed fabrics and the brand’s rst scented candles (Aubépine (Hawthon), Thé (Tea), Cannelle (Cinnamon), as of 1963) and, spurred by the British in uence of Desmond, English colognes (lilacs, lilies of the valley, mock orange, and various exotic frictions such as bay rum, ignored south of the Channel). Since the store had two display windows, the store was named diptyque.
During the spring of 1968, precisely 50 years ago, two major events created quite a stir in this particular neighbourhood. First, the most well-known, included barricades, throwing of stones and forbidding to forbid. They were reinventing the world.
The other, more discreet, was the birth of an absolutely singular fragrance, a fusion of spices and remembrance of medieval pomander (old roses, cinnamon, orange, clove) conceived by Desmond, henceforth the brand’s self-proclaimed “nose”, and simply called L’Eau ([O]). They were reinventing an ancient art.”
The rst niche perfume. The rst genderless perfume. The rst perfume authored like a tale. L’Eau also distinguished itself with two canons that became integral to the brand: product names bearing the sound O (in homage to “Eau”) sound (Oponé, Tam Dao, Ofrésia, Eau des Sens, Olène, etc.) and the olfactory “accident”, meaning an unexpected note (making a connection, breaking away or making an exclamation), the serendipitous surprise we never imagined… L’Eau, the origin of all that was to follow.
Tempo, the latest work of art by diptyque,is not only new and completely modern, they’re also reverent nods to their big sister, L’Eau, to her historic birth year, 1968…
Diptyque revisits the patchouli theme, but (of course)refining it to reveal its most exquisite beauty. Combining three different extractions, each from a sustainable supply chain managed by Givaudan on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. A persistent vibration, like an ongoing echo of a musical wake.
Brought back from India, or Kathmandu or Colombo, this primitive patchouli, distilled without precautions before being incorporated into a rustic lipid, was not, let’s admit, the most subtle. But despite its moth repellent tendency (which the leaves were long used for), its instantly identi able scent hid nothing, like a statement. Henna, kohl, patchouli: a signature!
Smell the Images, See the Fragrances
Each raw material is like a dab of paint on the artist’ palette, like the memory of a place, a landscape, a time.
For Tempo, it’s the vision of a shaman (referred to as a guru in India) communicating ritually with the forest where patchouli was born, where animals and spirits live freely. The universe is abundant, in nite, secret. What’s inside this little bottle?
No doubt the three founders of diptyque were above all visual, tactile artists, so their approach to making fragrances is as visual and tangible as it is ethereal – inviting you to discover the invisible. Each raw material is like a dab of paint on the artist’ palette, like the memory of a place, a landscape, a time. Arabian marketplaces, Victorian gardens, Tonkinese rice elds… The illustrations on the bottles are of utmost importance to each narration.