Juice and ink


Each diptyque fragrance has its own illustration in Indian ink just like a diptyque (two-panelled pictures hinged in the centre that complement one another). These two elements, linking the material to the imaginary, are conceived then brought to life with equal grandeur. To feel is already to imagine.

Right at the beginning when diptyque the perfumers launched their first eau de toilette L’Eau in 1968, it was Desmond Knox-Leet who both created the perfume and drew the illustration for it. He experimented making candle fragrances at the back of the boutique at 34 Boulevard Saint Germain and drawing the labels and illustrations that would accompany diptyque stamped products. He bought his tracing paper, Bagnol & Fargeon pens and Indian ink from the Artists Cooperative and in Faubourg Saint-Honore. He would go on to entrust the fragrances he imagined in his head to perfumers and his illustrations would be inspired by his travels and the distant memories of the three friends and founders of the brand.

Each diptyque perfume has its own hand-drawned illustration. The latter is an image of the former only insofar as the perfume illustrates the image that accompanies it. Since time immemorial, a diptyque fragrance has been conceived as the passage to a magical place evoked by its perfumed juice and the lines of a drawing in black ink. Desmond Knox-Leet would end up drawing the labels and pictures for fragrances right up until his death in 1993. Yves Coueslant, his friend and co-founder, would subsequently pick up the baton and do all the illustrations for eaux diptyque until 2006.

The founders’ time may have come to an end, but their inventive minds; artistic legacy and taste for collaborations are continued on by the tradition and spirit of the company. Every perfume created requires the right choices of designer, the perfumer and the illustrator, whose personal expression, orchestrated by the House, will infuse both the juice and the image with spirit and concept.

This initial alliance of perfume and its graphic evocation can be seen on the bottle: the illustration is reproduced on the back of the label so that by turning the bottle around, you can see the illustration seemingly floating through the perfumed liquid inside. The image only shows its face in full when viewed at very close quarters.