Diptyque | A Close-up on a Luxe Diary Favourite Brand

diptyque launches new fragrance read more in The Luxe Diary

Diptyque – One of The Luxe Diary’s Favourite Brands 

The History.

In Paris, in the early 1960s, three happy artists open a Parisian corner shop at 34 Boulevard Saint-Germain. Their names are Desmond (Knox-Leet), Christiane (Gautrot) and Yves (Coueslant). One a painter, the other an interior architect and the third a theatre set designer are part of a revolution in fragrances.

diptyque celebrates 50 years Luxe Diary

The Concept.

In the first diptyque concept store you could find rare and wonderful things: a few homemade treasures including printed fabrics and the brand’s first scented candles (Aubépine (Hawthon), Thé (Tea), Cannelle (Cinnamon), as of 1963, and, spurred by Desmond’s British influence, English colognes (lilac, lily of the valley, mock orange and various exotic concoctions such as bay rum, ignored south of the Channel).

Since the store had two display windows, it was named simply diptyque.

diptyque has established itself as the first niche perfume and the first genderless range of scents. The first perfume authored like a tale. L’Eau also distinguished itself with two pillars 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 and Fleur de Peau, the latest works of art by diptyque, are not only new and completely modern, they’re also reverent nods to their big sister, L’Eau, to her historic birth year, 1968…

diptyque celebrates 50 years Luxe Diary


Tempo, written for diptyque by its long-time friend, the perfumer Olivier Pescheux, revisits the patchouli theme, but (of course) refining it to reveal its most exquisite beauty and artfully 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. A bit of moist earth deep within a primitive forest, amidst a fray of ferns, beneath the towering teak trees, laced in the mysterious shadows of the ancient endemic tribes that still live there. They call it Nilam.

Powerful pinnacles of remarkably pure woody notes (softened by a maté absolute) almost camphoric, edged in green (bolstered by violet leaves). Leading to the slightest impression of wild cocoa beans. It resists and embellishes all that chimes in. Pink peppercorns, bergamot and fresh jasmine add peps and colour.


The smell of skin: the smell of musk. Sometimes natural (imported from Tibet where it is still available), but usually synthetic, the most beloved smell that echoes (almost to a tee) that of lovers’ bodies: navel, back of the knee, palm of the hand. That which, on an olfactory level, is rather akin to the soft, surprising scent of the fringed nubuck vests young bare-chested men used to wear.

Opening with Italian notes of mandarin orange and bergamot, and a dash of pink peppercorns that hover between petals and seeds. Aldehydes. Everything awakens, and fuses. Then, an unusual contrast (the happy accident) follows, round and moist.

The Design.

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.

The illustrations on the bottles are of utmost importance to each narration.

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.

For Fleur de Peau, the illustrator was inspired by the word psychedelic, rooted in an ancient Greek myth in which an incomparably gorgeous princess falls madly in love with Aphrodite’s son. He sneaks out at night to meet with her. She wraps herself around him in her dreams.

Just like the first illustration Desmond Knox-Leet designed for the L’Eau bottle 50 years ago, the ones created for Tempo and Fleur de Peau were drawn with Indian Ink. Each is also double sided – the story continues on the back, visible only from the inside, through the fragrant liquid. Floating

images, like in a dream! Figurative, they tell the tale of each fragrance as much as they reflect it. Back and forth, in harmony, like a twin ship. Around the iconic oval, the trademark font stamps the immutable address: diptyque, 34 Boulevard Saint-Germain, Paris 5e.

Tempo, Eau de Parfum, 75 ml

Fleur de Peau, Eau de Parfum, 75 ml



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