Skip to main content

Whisper logo

An expert judge in matters of taste
By  skins cosmetics

Dancing Ovals – 60 Years of diptyque

The “pas de deux” is a demanding dance, calling for precision and experience.

diptyque knows this well, and has been making lines and opposite elements dance for the past sixty years: black and white, modernity and tradition, outline and motif, freedom and discipline...

Such contrasting duos shaped the aesthetic and spirit of the Maison: its modern yet timeless style, its playful genius of mixing different time periods and worlds,
fine art, and the avant-garde. On the occasion of its sixtieth anniversary, diptyque continues to pursue its own path, drawing on sources from its own history in order to reinvent itself and surprise everyone yet again.

A brief flashback: it’s 1961 and Christiane Montadre, Desmond Knox-Leet and Yves Coueslant, the Maison’s three founders, former art students united by the same creative sensibility, opened the first diptyque boutique in Paris. The same year, being passionate lovers of graphic design and textiles, they created the motifs for the Choriambe, Fabliau, Paladin and Légende fabrics; these were soon followed by Sarayi, Prétorien and Basile.

Their geometric, minimal, picturesque aesthetic displayed a startling degree of innovation – as did their bold graphic flair and ability to produce countless optical effects. Right from the start, the diptyque codes were laid down: the oval shape, the repetition of lines and motifs, the interplay of shapes and colours.

The placement of the oval – dead center – became clear, as did the unique graphic style of the Maison. Borrowing from classical architecture and contemporary abstract art, it was both of its time and of all time. It toyed with the notion of the time period, while delivering a visual treat. The trio of artists cheerfully revisited the classical canon: inspired by the 18th century locket, the oval of the Prétorien fabric is also the one that appears on the label for diptyque fragrances. Its simple lines in black and white greet the dancing characters – typical of the Maison’s lettering, inspired by the Celtic alphabet – plus the illustrations, made with Indian ink until 2006 by the founders, who loved engraving.


As a medium for graphic experimentation and a means of drawing in and engaging anyone who saw it, the oval became a gateway into the world of diptyque. Characterized by its rich creative and narrative profusion, an abundance of motifs, and details of a freedom to create which was unique to the Maison. For diptyque, a playful spirit was at the heart. On each label, each product, the letter became a symbol, the name became a picture and the illustration is a wonderful field of play.

A Joyful, Participatory Sixtieth Anniversary

Sixty years later, the same joyful, participatory dimension remains evident in the first anniversary collection. This reconnects with the codes and history of the Maison, celebrating its graphic heritage. Derived from the playful lines of the oval and generating thrilling vibrations in black and white, the unique new graphic motifs decorating the boxes and glass containers of four iconic scents create a proliferation of optical effects – deconstructing the emblematic oval to reveal it all the better.

Limited Edition Candles

Adorned in an interplay of black lines set against a white background, each candle is characterized by the nature and intensity of the line stroke: fine, overlapping curves for Baies, overlaid concentric shapes for Figuier, alternating, contrasting vertical lines for Roses and an edgy cross-hatching for Tubéreuse. The oval appears on each but is featured differently – in counter-relief, directly or in outline. Improvising a waltz at a breakneck tempo, it vibrates and dances as never before.

Needless to say, true to the spirit and history of the Maison, colour is also present, evoking the olfactory qualities of each scent. For the first time, the oval in the centre is covered up in red, green, pink and blue respectively, softening the impact of the black and white elements.

Devised by Yorgo Tloupas, a designer noted for his contemporary take on graphic design and his creative expertise in typography and logotypes, the new decorations for this limited edition collection offer an experience that is both visual and sensorial.

Shop the limited edition anniversary collection in store and online now.

Back to top