Throughout the years, there have been many scents inspired by Paris – it is the home of haute couture, fine dining, and some of the world’s greatest artworks, after all. But there’s a new olfactory offering shaking things up in the French fragrance world. A unique spin on the classic chypre, it’s a floral bouquet of roses brought to life with a hint of spice and a splash of citrus, with collectible packaging to boot. Enchanté diptyque ‘Eau Capitale’.
“Diptyque was born in Paris almost 60 years ago, but we’ve never told and shared our story of Paris. It was time to pay tribute to this beautiful city and our birthplace!” says Myriam Badault, diptyque’s Creative Director. “But as a French house, it was not an easy thing as we are Parisian and wanted to find the right way to capture the Paris of diptyque. For us, this Paris is literary, architectural, and very artistic. It’s vibrant and creative.”
So who better to introduce this stunning new scent than Badault, perfumer Olivier Pesheux, and illustrator Pierre Marie – the creators of this olfactory interpretation of the City of Lights? Sitting down in Paris with our Beauty Editor-at-Large – in the very room where the idea came to life – they exclusively told Savoir Flair all about the perfume that will transport you to Paris with just a spritz. Listen in.
It’s a Creative Collaboration
As Badault explains, this creation was the vision not only of the brand and perfumer, but also an artist. It’s a creative collaboration that brings all three worlds together to create something truly unique and spectacular. “At diptyque, we choose to work with a perfumer and an artist or illustrator, and we all come together to create an olfactory landscape.”
“For ‘Eau Capitale’, we wanted to work with Olivier because he always wanted to create a chypre scent for us and he’s a long-term friend of the house. We also wanted to work with illustrator Pierre Marie because he specializes in Art Nouveau, and that was the main source of inspiration for all the creatives of this fragrance. We give the perfumer and artist time and freedom, and we don’t stop until everyone is happy with the creation.”
It’s Inspired by Chic Parisian People
“I thought about the people who live in the city and, for me, it was a very refined and elegant couple who like to dine in restaurants, spend time on the terrace, and live in a very Parisian way,” explains Pescheux. “My inspiration was this couple. They’re the ones who people look at and want to be friends with because they’re so special.” Who doesn’t want to smell like a chic Parisian? Exactly.
And by Art Nouveau
“For diptyque, Art Nouveau is the visual expression of Paris. It’s also linked to the history of the brand and the first ever label illustrations by Desmond Knox-Leet, one of our founders,” explains Badault. It’s therefore little wonder that Marie was the chosen artist to bring this vision to life both on and off the bottle. “I’m very inspired by Art Nouveau – it’s a style I started looking at when I decorated my apartment five years ago. It’s in the 9th arrondissement, where there are very strong Art Nouveau aesthetics. Five, 10 years ago, everyone was more into Art Deco, so I found it really interesting to be inspired by a style nobody was looking at,” he tells us.
“I also thought it was an obvious choice because many of the first diptyque fragrances had this Art Nouveau vibration in their design because that’s when it was very en vogue. On the bottle of diptyque’s first ever fragrance, ‘L’Eau’, you have a basket arrangement of pomanders and fruits – elements that are very emblematic of Art Nouveau.”
The Vision Was Created in a Bathroom!
But not just any old bathroom – late Parisian actress Sarah Bernhardt’s bathroom, which today happens to be diptyque’s very chic conference room. “It was in this room that the idea came to life as it’s a wonderful space and an Art Nouveau masterpiece,” says Badault. “Bernhardt was one of the instigators of Art Nouveau. She even asked Alphonse Mucha, a leading artist of the movement, to design her posters.” The immaculately preserved walls feature ceramic frescoes teeming with parrots, multicolored peacocks (a symbol of Art Nouveau), ocean views, and flourishing vegetation.
It's a Modern Take on the Classic Chypre
“When we thought about creating a fragrance to celebrate Paris, the chypre scent appeared as an obvious choice. Firstly, because this scent can be described as ‘The Golden Ratio’. In its composition, you’ll find the four main aromatic families of perfumery – floral, woody, oriental, and citrus. So only this legendary chypre accord could pay a worthy tribute to the city of 100 facets!” explains Badault.
“It’s called a chypre because that’s the French word for Cyprus, a Mediterranean island known as the heartland of many perfume products. In 1917, François Coty launched the ‘Chypre de Coty’, and it was such a success that it gave its name to the olfactory family. Perfumers describe it as the most intellectual extract, the quintessence of creativity, and the most Parisian scent.”
But With a Diptyque Twist, of Course
“When I started this job, I found it difficult to understand how to create chypre. It was something very abstract, so it took me some time to understand the accord,” explains Pescheux.
“Usually, we say that it’s based on bergamot, labdanum, patchouli, and oakmoss. With this format, I only used this accord for the base, and then worked with rose and ylang-ylang. We worked with top quality raw materials, as always, especially with the rose. For me, Paris was a chypre, but a rose chypre. It had to contain rose because Paris is rose. But my favorite note to work with is patchouli, so of course, you’ll find it here! It’s so rich, and you can find many stories in it – you’re transported around the world when you smell it.”
Anyone Can Wear It
In the words of Pescheux, this scent is genderless, which means it really is for everyone. “Wearing a chypre is not a problem for a man or a woman. Some say it’s feminine, but for others, it’s more masculine. When it comes to fragrance, if you like it, wear it! Even if it says ‘for men’. Just go for it!”
And Wear It How They Want
Rule-breakers, rejoice because as Pescheux says, “There are no rules when it comes to applying your fragrance. Do what you want! Some people like to wear it on clothes because you can smell them when they move, others prefer to spray it on their skin. Frankly, it’s what’s right for you. That’s what I love about perfumery – there are no rules. Be free!”
You Can Mix and Match It, Too
Fragrance layering is all the rage, and with good reason, too. Not only does it allow you to tailor your scent to your mood, but it gives you the freedom to create a fragrance for you. “The idea of combining fragrances is to enhance one of the raw materials,” explains Badault.
As for layering with ‘Eau Capitale’? Simply put, focus on the key notes. “Some months ago, I created ‘Tempo’, which contains a lot of patchouli, so that works very well with ‘Eau Capitale’ – which also contains patchouli. For this reason, it also works very well layered with ‘Rose’. You can also mix it with a cologne like ‘L’Eau de Néroli’ because that fits well with the bergamot,” advises Pescheux.
There’s an Unexpected Surprise
“All diptyque fragrances have a ‘surprise’ or ‘accident’, a note that shakes up the composition,” Badault tells us. In ‘Eau Capitale’, that surprise was pepper. “I used pink peppercorn from Madagascar to give a surprising, spicy touch. It’s very pure and very bright, and it creates a little sparkle on top,” reveals Pescheux.
There’s More to the Label Than Meets the Eye
If you thought diptyque’s labels were just any old label, you’re in for a treat, because lurking inside each one is a world of treasures just waiting to be discovered. For ‘Eau Capitale’, this was all about the world of Art Nouveau. “For each of our perfumes, we create a label that reveals something different on the front and the back of the bottle,” explains Badault. “We really love hiding details in the illustrations, so it’s like a new discovery each time you look at the fragrance.” Look closely, and you’ll see not only the ingredients and the Art Nouveau peacock, but also a symbol of Paris hidden away…
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