A blank, white canvas. An individual brushstroke. But a single seed of sesame. All seemingly humble components, though anything but insignificant within their potential to cede wondrous creations. The newest perfume from enduring French Maison Diptyque, L’Eau Papier, is proof.
The abstract, delicately painted black and white artwork adorning its labels is an immediate clue to this scent’s individuality. Whilst Diptyque has always been set apart for its “fragrances [being] first discovered through the eyes and graphic expression of [its] perfumes”, as the brand’s Senior Vice President Laurence Semichon proudly declares, the difference with L’Eau Papier is clear from its exterior.
Far from Diptyque’s traditional perfume illustrations depicting a recognisable motif, from the crisply drawn floral on Eau Rose to the triad of figs decorating Philosykos, L’Eau Papier’s labels are decidedly impressionistic. Gentle ink washes of varying intensity and tightly packed points may need time to decipher—but therein lies the message at this fragrance’s heart: creativity.
“L’Eau Papier celebrates the power of imagination, and of the suspended moment when hand, ink and paper become one,” Semichon shares of the two-fold inspiration for the fragrance. On one layer, it’s the seemingly simplistic object of paper. But consider it closer: a sole sheaf offers endless possibilities to create art, tell stories, and imagine unbridled.
“Diptyque’s founders Christiane Gautrot, Desmond Knox-Leet and Yves Coueslant were artists cultivating imagination,” explains Semichon. The founders, accomplished in various fields of the arts from theatre to painting, created the Maison out of a still-standing boutique on 34 Boulevard Saint-Germain in Paris over 60 years ago, and their principles of individuality, artistry and expression have infused Diptyque’s heritage ever since.
An ode to paper and its power as a canvas for these values is marked both visually and fragrantly by L’Eau Papier. “As Diptyque’s founders’ heritage, each fragrance starts as a blank page slowly giving voice to ink and ideas. And each illustration plays a role in the narrative of our perfumes. We imagine each of our perfumes as a story, where notes are the main characters.”
“L’Eau Papier was created as an alliance of the nose, with [perfumer] Fabrice Pellegrine, and of the hand with [artist] Alix Waline, paying tribute to creation,” describes Semichon.
Waline, a French artist trained at the Beaux-Arts de Paris and La Cambre in Brussels, previously created artwork for Diptyque’s Rue Saint Honoré boutique. For her paintings on the diptych of L’Eau Papier’s front and back labels, she remained true to her distinctive style, employing gentle brushstrokes and closely knitted lines to interpret L’Eau Papier’s accords.
And of these accords themselves? Perfumer Pellegrin, who has worked with Diptyque over several years as the nose behind beloved scents including Eau Duelle and Do Son, shares the Maison’s storytelling approach to perfume.
“Creating a perfume for Diptyque is like writing a book,” Pellegrin explains of his process. “I started creating [L’Eau Papier] with one initial ingredient: the extract of roasted sesame seeds. I chose it to evoke the novel scent of ink, adding a delicate flavour to the scent.”
“I enhanced this by working with musky notes, heightening the scent’s sensuality. Finally, I added floral mimosa notes to supplement the gentle note of paper. The uniqueness of the ink accord, blended with the sweetness of white musk, creates the scent of paper. This combination defines the fragrance. I sought to convey the subtle, sensitive interaction when ink is applied to a sheet of paper, through the use of musks.”
Adding yet another dimension to the individuality that L’Eau Papier’s origins evoke, the scent also unfolds differently over time and on each individual’s skin. This is by way of the scent’s white musk notes.
Of L’Eau Papier, sure to attain classic status amid Diptyque’s lauded line-up, Pellegrin leaves us with a parting sentiment:
“Perfume is just like a work of art, in that it’s never finished because you can always go backwards or forwards with it.”
“L’Eau Papier changes a little bit on every wearer’s skin, and that’s the beauty of it. It’s a timeless fragrance that envelops and brings comfort to the wearer, while expressing an intimate sensuality. With its soft and elegant signature, L’Eau Papier can be worn at any time.”
The perfume will be available for purchase at Diptyque boutique Raffles City, Diptyque boutique Takashimaya S.C, Diptyque Tangs at Tangs Plaza, escentials Paragon and escentials.com.