You’ve got to hand it to Cire Trudon - makers of the finest scented candles money can buy (Tom Ford and Sarah Jessica Parker love them). They’ve set up their first boutique outside Paris on Chiltern Street, a chic little spot in the heart of London’s Portman Village - and the hotelier André Balzas, of Chateau Marmont fame is opening his first London hotel, right opposite.
It’s delightfully old world with old style French wallpaper and paint colours. The shop window frames the candle collection a treat, each covered with a scent trapping glass bell, sitting on a black, French style cabinet. Walk through a small corridor (notice the cabinet on the left, filled with quirky memorabilia – and a bowl of perfume stink bombs: genius idea) into the back room. Here, more candles, including Les Bustes, candle versions of C18th busts. And the fairytale collection, illustrated Little Red Riding Hood among others complete with evocative scented candle to evoke its mood (love).
Cire Trudon dates back to 1643, when the opportune marriage of a salesman named Claude landed him a grocery shop on the rue Saint-Honoré. Here, he developed a way of making candles, that lead 40 years on, to his son, Jacques’ welcome into the arms of the Court of Versailles, as apothecary and distiller. Another 50 years (1737) and Claude’s grandson, Hierosme (we can’t say it either) Trudon bought the leading wax-producing factory (whose links with Louis XV were already established). It was at this time that the savvy chap developed a new, purest ever, high quality wax (remember, no electric lights, so wax = Prize Commodity), which put the house of Cire Trudon firmly atop the luxury candle tree.
Cire Trudon became Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette’s candle supplier at Versailles. Then, not one to wobble with the times, hid the company’s royal connections when things got sticky and snuck in with the Court of Napoleon. Perhaps the biggest threat to their success was the electric light. CT moved deftly into making scented candles and became the go-to company for the likes of Hermès, Cartier, Dior and Guerlain. In ’06, new creative director Ramdane introduced Trudon’s own line of scented candles (paraffin free, natural, exquisite). They also make for a select group of hotels and restaurants. Monsieur Balzas, are you reading?
Cire Trudon, 36 Chiltern Street, London W1U 7QJ. Tel: 020 7486 7590
Emma’s blog is at emmahill.net or follow Emma on Twitter at @emmahhill