Just in time for Valentine's Day, Diptyque has introduced a limited edition capsule collection: Rosaviola, a scent packaged in collaboration with designer Olympia Le-Tan. I'm not specially a fan of Le-Tan, whom The New York Times has praised for her "glamorous geek aesthetic" and her clutch purses that reinterpret classic book covers in fabric and embroidery — a "nod to a bygone era when people carried actual books," the Times tells us.1 I still carry real books, rather than a $2000 clutch, but I'm not one of the well-connected Le-Tan's celebrity clients and never will be. What I am, however, is someone who can not resist a violet-rose perfume, so here we are.
Rosaviola is composed of notes of violet, violet leaf, raspberry, iris and leather; it's meant to evoke the scent of a woman's handbag and the cosmetics tucked inside. The solid perfume formulation of Rosaviola is packaged in a circular white screw-top container, complete with a little cloth drawstring bag (see below) patterned in teensy lipsticks, roses, hearts and so on. (Le-Tan designed this pouch and the accompanying pink box, as well as the packaging for the other items in this collection.)
In Rosaviola, you get just what Diptyque promises: a very powdery violet, a quick pop of red berry and some dewy pink rose petals. There's a refined leather note that makes an early appearance, and just enough soft musk to act as a base of sorts, but Rosaviola is a fairly linear scent. It really does suggest the interior of a woman's purse, especially if that woman happens to carry a pack of Choward's Violet Mints with her at all times. In this solid format (which melts right into the skin, incidentally), Rosaviola doesn't last more than two to three hours on my skin, but it's fun to reapply with the touch of a finger. It feels frivolously retro, and it sticks to its theme; it doesn't take itself too seriously.
As I mentioned in my Best of 2105 post, lipstick-inspired perfumes aren't new: L'Artisan Parfumeur Drôle de Rose dates to 1996, Frédéric Malle released Lipstick Rose in 2000, and CB I Hate Perfume has offered a "Lipstick" accord in oil form for about a decade. However, Vogue just informed us that a lipstick scent is the ultimate "French Girl" accessory, so with their blessing, now you can wear one secure in the knowledge that you won't smell "old ladyish."2 (If you couldn't detect the sarcasm in the previous sentence, you must be a newcomer to my reviews. Welcome!)
While I'm not wild about Olympia Le-Tan's work in general, she does seem to be a longtime lipstick-lover — in 2013 she collaborated with Lancôme on deluxe packaging for the cosmetic giant's Rouge in Love collection, and she often mentions red lipstick as one of her style essentials.3 She's a good fit for this capsule collection, which happens to be a perfect gift idea for Valentine's Day. If I hadn't already treated myself to this solid perfume, I'd put it (and the candles!) on my wishlist.
Diptyque + Olympia Le-Tan Rosaviola is available in an 8g solid perfume ($50) as well as 70 and 190g candles and a scented ceramic home-fragrance disk. The collection is limited edition. For purchasing information, see the listing for Diptyque under Perfume Houses.
1. "Like Father, Like Daughter," The New York Times T Magazine, February 15, 2013.
2. The Surprising French Girl Secret to an Alluring Signature Perfume," Vogue.com, January 17, 2016.
3. "Olympia le-Tan and the world's coolest book club," The Independent, February 10, 2013.