hen I joined, we decided at the time to work on the Diptyque book,” recalls Myriam Badault, marketing and creation director, who first learned the ropes from the founders of Diptyque – Yves Coueslant, Desmond Knox-Leet, and Christiane Gautrot – in 2006, and later took over the business when they retired. “It was a great opportunity to learn the universe and the way they interacted, how they felt when they create a drawing or a candle.”
The trio founded Diptyque – an ancient Greek word that means two panels displayed side by side as a complete picture – in 1961. Converting a run-down bar into a bazaar on Boulevard Saint-Germain in Paris, it was there that bric-à-brac ranging from fabrics to trinkets sourced from their travels around the world awaited discovery. They even introduced foreign perfumes from England to the French, a rarity back then. Knox-Leet, a painter, and Gautrot, an interior designer, were collaborators in fabric and wallpaper designs that sold well at Liberty and Sanderson. Coueslant, a theatre director and set designer, was manager and administrator of the 34 Boulevard Saint-Germain store.
Their first perfumed candle, Aubépine, was created in 1963, and it remains one of the brand’s quintessential favourites. L’Eau, their first fragrance, was based on a 16th-Century potpourri recipe and pomanders. It is still a distinctive scent today, timelessly modern and the perfect embodiment of creativity. The famous perfumed candles are still handmade, from the custom-blended wax to the hand-straightened wicks.
“They are no longer involved in product development, but I love to take time to share with them the new projects and products,” says Badault, who has indeed done justice to the brand’s roots. Everything from the iconic oval – a design with dancing letters and beautiful hand-drawn illustrations – to the spirit of the brand, even the bar counter, have been well preserved as a quintessence that sets the brand apart. A narrow stairway that leads to the atelier houses all the original perfume creations and art pieces as well as fabrics dating back to the ’60s.
Badault reminisces, “In 2006, when they asked me to have lunch with the both of them, they told me they were going to retire, and that the brand is now mine.” Florabellio, the new floral fragrance from Diptyque, began with a lab sample left by Gautrot. “They gave me two lab samples when they retired, and told me to do whatever I wanted with them,” reveals Badault. “We began to work
An image of apple blossoms shot by photographer Terri Weifenbach that inspired the new fragrance Florabellio
The founders of Diptyque, Yves Coueslant, Christiane Gautrot, and Desmond Knox- Leet