What is it about Diptyque that inspires such devotion? The French company has been at the forefront of high-end candle-making for decades, and it shows no signs of slowing down because its allure is intoxicating. More than a vessel for relaxation, it’s also a status symbol that continues to adorn coffee tables, mantles, and homes, long after the wax burns out. While the market is becoming saturated with other niche candlemakers with higher price tags, Diptyque remains king.
How it all happened
Created in 1961, the Maison started as a fabric and wallpaper company by a trio of founders: Interior designer Christiane Gautrot, painter Desmond Knox-Leet, and set designer Yves Coueslant. Diptyque’s first store opened on 34 Boulevard Saint-Germain in Paris, and signalled the beginning of an icon. Soon, this expanded into a home goods boutique that featured fascinating finds from their travels abroad. In 1963, the brand released its first scented candles. Five years later came the launch of its perfumes.
The word “diptyque” is the French word for diptych, which refers to two identical windows hinged together like a book. One of the biggest factors behind the Maison’s success is its iconic branding. It is most recognisable by its oval label, which takes inspiration from its archival fabric designs that references ancient Rome, specifically the elongated shield of a Praetorian Guard. Its logo was designed by Knox-Leet himself, who uses disorderly lettering in his calligraphy.
But its meteoric rise through the years is in large part, due to its deftness to evolve. Managing director Fabienne Mauny, who was in town for the the Eau de Minthe pop-up, confirms this.
“The goal has always been to be a creative brand,” she said. “There’s no looking backwards. We place a lot of emphasis on being creative, whether it’s through store design, products or customer experience.”
How Diptyque stays relevant
Mauny has been with the Maison for 12 years, armed with a wealth of experience that includes perfumery and fashion stints at Yves Saint Laurent. After leading the brand for more a decade, Diptyque has grown leaps and bounds with aggressive international store expansions and digital-skewed initiatives, including pop-ups across the world such as the recent one revolving around Eau de Minthe, featuring all the elements of today’s successful pop-up — installations, photo-worthy corners, and exclusive event-day services which included customisation services.
In Singapore, Diptyque’s presence exploded with the opening of its first store in Ngee Ann City in 2018; prior to that, the brand was only available at luxury beauty boutique escentials. When asked about Diptyque’s expansion in Asia, Mauny says: “Ten years ago, the brand was famous but only in limited circles, and mostly in Europe… We’ve developed more of a presence over the years by opening more stores and counters. Everywhere we go, we engage with customers to help them know our story and our special approach to perfumes. While each store is unique, we want people to feel the Parisian roots of the brand and the refinement it provides when they enter.”
When asked how Diptyque keeps up with consumers’ changing preferences for fragrances, Mauny highlights how more and more shoppers are looking for a signature scent to express their personalities. “For us, it’s about the inspiration and the ingredients behind the scent. Our range of fragrances are all non-gender so you can pick what resonates to you. It’s about what is right for you.”
When it comes to home fragrances, Diptyque is filling — even dominating — a void that was previously unoccupied. “In Asia, people were not used to scenting their homes with candles,” Mauny said. “These days we see a lot more interest in that. Aside from our rich scent portfolio of over 50 scents for candles, we constantly work on proposing new scenting techniques, such as the hourglass diffuser.”
The future remains bright for Diptyque. Mauny says the Maison will continue its narrative of combining heritage with creativity.
“Diptyque has always been about the art of living, and we want to continue to develop ourselves — think of the bazaar chic, decorative objects we had for many years in our Paris store, as well as more accessories for our signature 34 line. We’ve just launched a new line at Milan Design Week, and will showcase this at a pop-up in Paris in September.”