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How Empty Diptyque Candles Became a Symbol of Good Taste

January 1 | 3 minute read

Memo Diptyque Candle Vessel Hero 16x9

Words by Sable Yong

Originally published on | November 23

One of the most glamorous ways to burn your own money? Scented candles. But not just any will do — they must be beautifully packaged, have an impressively long-ranging throw ('candle-core' lingo for how widely the fragrance radiates), and be instantly recognisable by sight as well as scent.

And for as long as scented candles have enjoyed their position as top-tier home goods,
Diptyque has upheld that status.

The French maison's reputation as the 'fancy' candle brand is, in many ways, the result of keeping cosy with some very aspirational company (Carrie Bradshaw in Sex In The City, David and Victoria Beckham, Beyoncé – even Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, to name drop a few). Proximity to celebrity always fuels the hype machine (see also: John Mayer dubbing the bestselling Feu De Bois candle as for da boys on Instagram Stories). 

Memo Diptyque Candle Vessel 3x4 1
Memo Diptyque Candle Vessel 3x4 1a

Yet Diptyque's presence at the top of wishlists is also down to its christening as the tastemaker’s choice — it’s sophisticated and luxurious, but not in a way that thinks it’s better than you. (And like all French things, the pronunciation of Baies or Feu De Bois is how you can tell who’s really in the know.)

The brand's signature oval logo – emblazoned with scattered letters spelling out such intriguing scents as Figuier and Do Son – serve as aesthetic ambassadors for understated-yet-very-good taste (the quiet luxury of it all speaks louder).

And amid trending luxury hand soaps, stainless steel appliances and the lush textures of four-figure thread count bedsheets – all of which tend to dominate social feeds in cycles – Diptyque has maintained its covetable reputation since before people were posting every corner of their home online.

Memo Diptyque Candle Vessel 3x4 1b
Memo Diptyque Candle Vessel 3x4 2a

Beginning as a concept store in Paris in the 1960s, cool was embedded in its DNA. The boutique originally sold an eclectic assortment of home goods, personal care products and decorative objects selected by its three founders (dubbed as “merchants of nothing” in one contemporary Parisian article, which could arguably also mean merchants of everything). Like all things that end up indexing on the cultural zeitgeist, good taste, experimentation and quality imbued the brand with the kind of social novelty that we know today as 'hype'. Even as Diptyque gradually pared down its inventory to focus on scent, that hype remained.

Many of us are apprehensive to burn luxury candles (I’ve gifted too many to friends who refuse to even light them because they're too good for everyday enjoyment), but thanks to its aesthetic trademark, Diptyque candles offer a second life. Once they're burned down and cleaned out, the vessels – from mini votives to classic and deluxe size – can be instantly repurposed into vases, cups, decor and the world's chicest toothbrush holders (mine display cotton buds and makeup brushes). Luxury brands’ takes on sustainability often underestimate their status as motivation for repurposing packaging, but the phenomenon of the Diptyque candle vessel reigns as proof of concept.

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