From its beginnings in 1961 as a pioneering concept store with a ‘bazaar chic’ theme, located at 34 Boulevard Saint-Germain, Paris, Diptyque has evolved into a full-fledged luxury brand. Led by the popularity of its scented candles, it now produces a complete line encompassing home fragrance, perfume, face and body care products, anchored by a refined yet natural Parisian flair.
With more than 50 standalone stores globally today, Diptyque recently opened its first boutique in Southeast Asia. Finding its home in a cosy corner at the Pavilion KL mall, the new store’s glass facade is framed by two ample windows in the form of a diptych that opens up into an intimate space that houses the brand’s collections.
Similar to all its boutiques around the world, which boast unique elements aligned with the aesthetic of the city or country it is located in, the store — a warm and modern space — is embellished with materials and motifs that pay homage to Malaysian culture.
“What we try to do is to keep our spirit and direction in bringing something different and specific to each of our stores, be it in the US, China, South Korea, France, Spain, Italy or Russia,” says commercial director Eric Cauvin at the opening of the Pavilion KL boutique. “For this store, we used native Malaysian teak and ebony, parquet flooring stencilled with a traditional batik-inspired pattern and batik curtains. Batik is a local technique of printing coloured fabrics using wax, a significant material in our candles. We try to find a way to present the brand but always with a twist, usually by adding a local touch.”
Since its debut in the Malaysian market about five years ago, Diptyque has found favour with local consumers and steadily enhanced its brand profile. “Our local partners have a very good understanding and respect for the brand in terms of guidelines, decoration and design. That’s important,” Cauvin says.
Founded by a trio of friends who were artists and designers in their own right, Cauvin highlights that Diptyque’s artistic background is integral to, and at the heart of, all its products. “When the founders opened their first store in Paris, it was not about fragrance. They brought into the store a selection of merchandise ranging from the fabrics they had designed to what they gleaned from their journeys and love of travel. It became a unique destination, which people visited to discover what was new and to find something different.”
From there, the store’s offerings morphed into fragrances and candles, always in keeping with the spirit of innovation and creativity. Owned by Manzanita Capital today, Diptyque is epitomised by its Collection 34 range. “It is called 34 to reference the address where the first store was opened in the Latin Quarter. We launch a set of products — fragrance, decorative items, candles and so on — as part of this collection every year,” Cauvin says. “The collection changes every year as we add to it something new that is related to the first store.
“The first fragrance we created for that collection was called 34 Boulevard Saint Germain. To capture the ambience of the first Diptyque store, a technician specialist used a device to collect a sample of air molecules for the perfumers to recreate. We managed to capture that scent as a kind of tradition for us to bring all over the world within a bottle of fragrance, featuring the best notes of our classic perfumes of natural scents.”
Selecting a favourite from Diptyque’s trove of fragrances, Cauvin says it is all a matter of taste. The brand’s well-trained and knowledgeable staff are able to direct customers to the scent of their liking, whether it is woody, floral or a lighter, fresher one. “All our fragrances are non-gender specific. They are universal, rich and diverse enough to appeal to anyone of any age, sex or personality,” Cauvin says. “Spend some time at the store to get to know the history of the brand and smell our different scents to find out what you like.”
Encompassing the Diptyque universe is its range of more than 50 one-of-a-kind scented candles — all handmade and an ode to fruit, flowers, trees and spices — and around 30 perfumes or personal fragrances. Its body care line is inspired by Mediterranean and Asian beauty rituals while the facial care products express the infused cosmetics philosophy of airy, foamy and milky textures that gently caress the skin.
Behind each Diptyque creation is a story that evokes the wonder of nature, inspiration from unique styles and unexpected harmonies, the choice of rare ingredients and a free and authentic spirit driven by boldness, simplicity and culture. To discover and explore the special brand with roots that bear a strong connection to the idea of art and creation, it is a good idea to linger and experience the breadth and depth of its precious offerings.
This article first appeared on Jan 22, 2018 in The Edge Malaysia.