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PARTY ALCHEMY WITH DOUGLAS LITTLE

No one loves Halloween more than our Founder/Perfumer. His love for the macabre started early. When asked by his parents if he wanted a car for his 16th birthday, he opted for a coffin instead and spent two years sleeping in it (not kidding). Before launching Heretic he created visual installations and events inspired by fractured fairy tales for Bergdorf Goodman, Van Cleef & Arpels, Bette Midler's Hulaween fundraiser and many more.

Douglas Little's Art Installations

1.Set design for Queen of the Night NYC, 2.Crimson Peak window display for Bergdorf Goodman, 3.Tales of Technology window display for Bergdorf Goodman


We've asked DL to explain his "Party Alchemy", how he celebrates Halloween, and gathered some of his past work to inspire you for the spookiest night of the year!

Q: What is Party Alchemy?

A: Halloween has its own distinctive magic that goes beyond plastic pumpkins and cardboard skeletons. It's a feeling that sparks the imagination and envelopes the senses. "Party Alchemy" is my personal theory that takes the five senses into consideration and uses them to evoke specific effects and transform any environment from the ordinary to extraordinary.

Q: How do you celebrate Halloween and what will your guests see?

A: I love this holiday as it gives the host/hostess complete freedom — there are no expectations other than the unexpected. I stray away from commercially available decorations and reach for natural materials such as branches, vines, and LOTS of candles. Dim the lights, light a million candles and fill the house with bramble, vines and fall produce. The best part is when the party is over it can all go in the recycle or compost bin! 

Gothic Splendor for Home and Garden

Gothic Splendor styled by Douglas Little for Bergdorf Goodman House & Garden


Q: Scent?

A: Never underestimate the power of scent for a party, and specifically for Halloween. I love burning two different scented candles in a space. Try our Smudge candle for sexy, smoky vibes and Dirty Vanilla for cozy, warm gorgeousness. When the two scents co-mingle as guests swirl through the space, the scent is so hypnotic, sexy and addicting without ever being overwhelming. 

Fall Candles Dirty Vanilla and Smudge

Q: Taste?

A: Keep it simple so you can enjoy your guests. I love creating high-drama cheese/fruit/charcuterie boards and take my inspiration from Dutch still life paintings. A spilled glass, skull, or strategically placed taxidermy insect can turn any cheeseboard into a work of art.

Installation by Douglas Little

Gothic Splendor styled by Douglas Little for Bergdorf Goodman House & Garden

Q: Touch?

A: Make it sexy. The devil is in the details and little touches can make a big difference. Opt for linen napkins over paper, or if paper is a must upgrade to something with a heavy weight so it feels good to the touch. If guests will be sitting on furniture, add a few velvet pillows and cozy throws. Drape chairs in a thin veil of chiffon or cheese cloth. Ask "what would Mrs. Havisham do?" - she always has good advice...

Bergdorf Goodman Installation

Bergdorf Goodman Crimson Peak window installation by Douglas Little

Q: Sound?

A: Sound may be one of my favorite things to consider. I like to curate my playlists so they are a mix of music you may have heard and some that you have never heard, and I try to stray from things that are too recognizable. It's important to consider what kind of vibe you want to create. Are you going for a rager? Or sexy/spooky? Or vintage glam? Here is a playlist of some of my favorite sexy & spooky vibes to get you in the spirit: 


Want to hear more? Listen in with Douglas as he talks Sexy/Spooky/Halloween on the Having A Night podcast with Sophie Von Haselberg (Bette Midler's daughter) and Marvelous Mrs. Maisel actress Ariana Venturi: 
 

Take a peek into the making of the Crimson Peak installation by Douglas Little for Bergdorf Goodman: