The very first shop, located at 34 Boulevard Saint-Germain in Paris, opens onto the street like a two-part Italian Renaissance or Flemish master’s painting. Three friends had found the ideal stage for their chic little bazaar of fascinating finds as well as the perfect name for it; Diptyque.
It’s tricky to spell, because the i and the y are cheeky letters. Mistakes were so common in the beginning that the Maison had to list it under both spellings in the phone book. Diptyque has such a refined ring to it, and in every language it is chic, eclectic, poetic, esthetic and graphic.
The secret to Diptyque’s singularity is the distinct chemistry between three unique individuals: Christiane Montadre-Gautrot, Yves Coueslant and Desmond Knox-Leet. When they met, it sparked a chain of creativity, that continues to resonate today.
They met through friends of friends. Christiane graduated from l’Ecole des Arts Décoratifs, Desmond was a painter. Together they designed fabric and wallpaper for ultra-chic British Maisons. Then, some other friends introduced them to Yves Coueslant, who had escaped an unlikely career in banking to follow his heart and work… in theatre. The three friends quickly became inseparable. In 1961, they opened an unusual boutique with a daring plan: listen to their intuition and only do what they love. Nothing dampened their friendship as their business grew, and diptyque spread the creations born of this incomparable friendship all around the world.
This year French Maison Diptyque is celebrating its 60th anniversary: an opportunity to immerse yourself in everything that has inspired the Maison since its creation. A cavalcade of youthful creativity, 2021 will be dedicated to graphic design, encounters, nature, travel and curiosity. A year that will be filled with collections and events.
To mark its anniversary, the niche perfume house presents the new perfume Eau Rihla in the spring of 2021. The fragrance is inspired by the spirit of the Middle East, named after the Arabic Rihla wood which means ‘journey’. It is dedicated to the 14th century globe-trotting merchant, Ibn Battuta – a prominent Arab Moroccan-Berber traveler and explorer – and his travels throughout the known world.
Perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin drew his inspiration directly from the Maison’s co-founder Desmond Knox-Leet’s leather-bound sketching notebook and Ibn Battuta’s leather luggage. Weathered and worn, the leather keynote is “an invitation to travel”, says Pellegrin. An exclusive to the perfume house molecule, extracted from rare cedar wood, forms the heart of the fragrance, layered with musk and precious iris.
Top notes: raspberry, pink pepper, saffron
Heart: leather, iris, cedar
Base: vanilla, musk
A bazaar of spices – much like the ones encountered by Ibn Battuta in far-flung lands – linger, is depicted with notes of saffron, pink peppercorn, and vanilla. Diptyque’sparticular signature, an unusual combination of notes, or ‘olfactory accidents’, emerges as an energetic, sweet raspberry opening note.
The flacon’s artwork is unmistakably Middle Eastern, an etched illustration signed by Safia Ouares showing an iconic Bedouin landscape of desert dunes, date palms, a falcon and camels. Another special touch – the oval label is a glided gold, a different route from Diptyque’s usual black and white branding.
Available as an exclusive for the region, Eau Rihla will be available only in the Middle East from May 1st, until June 2021, when it will release to the international market.
Diptyque Eau Rihla is available as a 75 ml Eau de Parfum at Diptyque Boutiques and selected stores worldwide. This year we can expect more special editions on the occasion of the anniversary. Come into the beautiful world of Diptyque.