James Heeley has quietly and independently become a fragrance force. He started out as a designer after studying philosophy and aesthetics at King’s College London, but his interest in nature eventually led him to the Parisian world of perfumery, where he has been making scents under his eponymous brand for over a decade. Heeley is self-taught, and this combined with his creative freedom as the owner-founder has contributed to his thoughtful, contemporary approach. Each scent finds complex yet simple beauty, using rare ingredients and traditional French techniques for a consistently fresh olfactory vision. True to himself and his craft, Heeley has found his rightful place in the Parisian fragrance circle.
Heeley’s latest creation is Blanc Poudre, a scent that, as its name suggests, replicates the sensation of pure, white powder. Its top note is a floral bouquet, but the specific ingredients within that are for the wearer to find out. Combined with other elements including cotton flower, white musk, and sandalwood, the French porcelain-inspired fragrance blends innocence and sensuality for a perfect unisex recipe for romance. Any scent with such an established personality is bound to have some aesthetically pleasing cultural counterparts, so Heeley played matchmaker to find his new creation’s visual, sartorial, and musical soul mates.
If Blanc Poudre was the star of its own movie, which actor would play the starring role?
What color does your fragrance smell like?
A shade of white with a very faint hue of dusky pink.
Which place in the world does your fragrance encapsulate best?
Narnia, from the C.S. Lewis series.
If you had to place your fragrance in an iconic decade past, which one would it be?
The Roaring Twenties.
What item from your wardrobe would you compare your scent to?
Anything cashmere—it works perfectly with scent.
What genre of music do you think your fragrance most aligns with and why?
My scents are as varied as my taste in music but I would probably go with classical piano music like Chopin, or something unrelentingly electronic like Crystal Castles, whose sound has a kind of raw, sexy, subliminal energy.
If your fragrance had a night out on the town, what drink would it order at the bar?
A White Russian.
If you were to relate your new scent to a book, what would it be? Why?
Perhaps one of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales, because they are full of magical, star-spangled landscapes, fantasies and ambiguities. Like a good scent, they have the power to take you somewhere else for a fleeting moment.
If your new fragrance had a soundtrack, what three sounds would play once you spray the scent?
Any of Chopin’s "Nocturnes," "Celestica" by Crystal Castles, and "Ballade de Melody Nelson" by Serge Gainsbourg.
If it wasn’t called Blanc Poudre, what would it be called?