Founded in 1643, the Cire Trudon company was supplier of candles to the French “Sun King” Louis XIV. Today it is the oldest company still making luxury candles. Julien Pruvost, its Executive Director, enlightens us about the process of making this exclusive product.
IN 'META-LUXURY' (PALGRAVE, 2012) MANFREDI RICCA AND REBECCA ROBINS DEFINE THE ESSENCE OF LUXURY AS THE COMBINATION OF A HISTORY, FOCUS, REAL RARITY AND CRAFTSMANSHIP. DO YOU AGREE WITH THIS DEFINITION? IF SO, ARE CIRE TRUDON CANDLES A LUXURY PRODUCT? WHAT IS THE PLACE OF CANDLES IN THE WORLD OF LUXURY TODAY?
Indeed, Cire Trudon fits the definition well. Our candles fulfil decorative and aspirational functions, both visually and olfactorily. While ostentation belongs to the world of luxury, more intimate and private relationships with our own selves always were, and increasingly are, a privileged part of that world. Scented candles are an expression of this, generally privately used for ourselves and those close to us. They are the expression of our own personal time. Our scented candles provide a form of intimate and aesthetic hospitality, for ourselves and for others.
CIRE TRUDON EMPHASIZES CRAFTSMANSHIP AND QUALITY. WHAT IS THE
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CIRE TRUDON CANDLE AND AN ORDINARY CANDLE? WHAT MAKES YOUR CANDLES SO SPECIAL?
It is the same difference we find in any product when we compare rarity with mass-production. The difference is in the quality of the material used, the features and the excellence of the production process. Clients of Cire Trudon are looking for this: the quality of the product, but also the history and the stories it conveys.
CRAFTSMANSHIP DEFINES THE PARAMETERS OF QUALITY, EXCELLENCE AND INNOVATION. IS INNOVATION STILL POSSIBLE IN CIRE TRUDON CRAFTSMANSHIP?
Absolutely. We innovate at each level of our production. For example, the shapes (La Promeneuse), the uses (our sprays), the materials (new natural waxes, research on new formulae), the quality of the production processes. We pay particular attention to working conditions and the impact on the environment.
LUXURY PRODUCTS ARE ALSO DEFINED BY THEIR LONGEVITY. IN ESSENCE, A CANDLE IS USED AND DISAPPEARS. HOW DOES A LUXURY CANDLE MAKER SOLVE THIS PARADOX?
Luxury products do not escape the basic definition of consumption: destruction through usage. Longevity, reliability and durability do not always characterise luxury. Gastronomy and floral composition are an example: luxury is often a perfect moment. Therefore, the question of longevity is relative. We fall in the same category as perfumes or cosmetics, whether luxurious or not, as we work with perishable ingredients.
CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHY CIRE TRUDON CANDLES ARE SO RARE?
They are rare because they represent a unique combination of elements of extreme quality. This combination does not exist anywhere else. The whole production set-up happens long before the candles are actually made. There is a long series of milestones such as the formula, the adaptation of the wick and the tests. The production is precise to the gram and to the tenth of a degree. Casting temperatures are adjusted according to the scents, formats, formulae and even the time of the year of production. A candle requires time and the human touch to be perfect: it takes a person to straighten and cut the wick, to polish and apply labels, etc.