For over half a century, luxury Paris perfumer diptyque has perfected the art of making scented candles. Founded in 1961, diptyque originally produced printed fabrics. In1963 they began to explore their love of fragrances, first with candles – when the house blended wax and perfume for the first time in the form of Aubépin (Hawthorne), Thé (Tea), Cannelle (Cinnamon) – before launching their first eau de toilette, L'Eau, in 1968.
With currently over 50 scented candles in their product line, for our latest Object of Desire we celebrate Diptyque’s four scented coloured candles made from the house’s most iconic candle fragrances: “black” Baies (Berries), “green” Figuier (Fig Tree), “red” Tubéreuse (Tuberose), and “grey” Feu de Bois (Wood Fire).
Inspired by the eminent oval-shaped label, beautifully illustrated in Indian ink by painter Desmond Knox-Leet (who founded the house with his two friends set designer Yves Coueslant and Christiane Gautrot), and the overt sensuality and darker side of Aubrey Beardsley's artworks, illustrator and animator Polly Dedman took symbolic elements from the four notes to construct a beautifully evocative moving image. “What impressed me most about diptyque candles was the way they provoke the senses,” explained Dedman, “not only through scent but also, with this range, through colour. I wanted to represent that and the way those senses stir up images and tastes and memories.”
"Inspired by the eminent oval-shaped label and the overt sensuality and darker side of Aubrey Beardsley's artworks, illustrator and animator Polly Dedman took symbolic elements from the four notes"
Delicately handdrawn in black and white, the animation organically blossoms across the screen, gracefully moving into each scent, “It was important to represent the nature of the product, not only through colour, but the ritual of the way that candle is used, the process of lighting and burning it and of course then the ways in which the wax then moves, drips and spreads. I used coloured wax to highlight the black and white images; I really like using unconventional material to collage with my drawings, so this was the perfect addition.”
Keen to incorporate the quintessentially French essence of the house, Dedman delved into historical music archives resampling C'est Lui by Parisian sensation and jazz singer Josephine Baker for the animation’s soundtrack. And the result: a compelling and yet ephemeral animation that perfectly represents the transient nature of the candle flame and sensual stimulation of the fragrances.
Illustration, animation and sound design by Polly Dedman
Text and Curation by Lucia Davies