From Paris to Tokyo

Posted on December 19, 2013 by Megan

Diptyque, a textiles company founded by Christiane Montadre-Gautrot, Desmond Knox-Leet and Yves Coueslant, is the product of a shared dream: a boutique textile outlet combining their artistic collaborations, inventiveness and creativity.

In the early 1960s, 34 Saint Germain des Prés was a prestigious address; a hub for Parisians in search of creativity and new ideas. The shop had two windows, like a diptych, giving the boutique its name. Originally designers of beautiful cotton fabrics with striking patterns, these three arty friends also loved traditional or unusual objects, which they sought out all over the world. Very quickly, Diptyque became a “chic bazaar” that people flocked to in search of a departure from the norm.

Two years later, in 1963, the designers built upon the boutique’s unique ambience with the introduction of three scented candles. The scents of Thé, Cannelle and Aubépine, (Tea, Cinnamon and Hawthorn) helped the company establish itself as a leading name in the world of pure, natural fragrances.

Today the brand has a stronger industry presence than ever, including a store in Tokyo’s Aoyama district, where alternative, eclectic style is welcome.  In its Tokyo home, the Parisian spirit of Saint Germain pervades, but Diptyque has also been reinvented for the Japanese market. The ethos behind the company’s success, however, remains: rigorous selection of raw materials and the desire to learn, discover and reinvent. The designers continue to deliver ranges and collections which evoke a subtle blend of elegance and simplicity, just as they did in the early 1960s.

A combination of stone, wood, tatami, brass and warm colours give the Aoyama shop interior a friendly, intimate atmosphere, blending wood with flamboyant shades and bright essences. 550 candles form a tree trunk, acting as a shrine to fragrance. Dyptyque fabrics, in varying and unusual colour blends, form the backdrop to the iconic 34 Boulevard Saint Germain range, encapsulating the history and the spirit of the old Parisian days.

Amongst the collection are two limited edition lanterns designed by José Lévy, sealing the relationship between Paris and Tokyo. Levy worked with Japanese artisans to understand their relationship to light and produced an installation of a bed of 50 Diptyque candles for the city’s first night-time festival. Inspired by the gardens in each city, he proceeded to design two lanterns entitled “Tokyo” and “Paris”. Through their differing scents, each suggest elements of their respective city.

Aesthetically the lanterns are simple and contemporary, with a cream backdrop and clean black lines, making them a stylish accessory for any interior – they’re certainly on our Christmas Wish-list!

For more information about Diptyque and their ranges, visit