Gucci Envy

Awhile ago I blogged about how much I like Gucci Envy for Men, which features a lot of ginger, an unexpected (and for me, quite welcome) note in a scent.   Musette, in one of our chatty email exchanges recently, asked me what I actually wear when I’m not test-driving something new.  I admitted that I probably wear Gucci Rush more than is decent.  I still can’t find the line in The Guide where Luca Turin describes a scent as (paraphrasing here) “making vulgarity seem like a richly-deserved vacation from good taste,” but I could certainly apply that to Rush, a milky-sweet thing that is both art and trash, like those big, shiny Jeff Koons balloon dogs.  Gucci Flora was okay, and while I ragged in passing on Gucci Guilty on Monday, it’s … perfectly fine.  It’s a very current, office-friendly floral-amber that I wouldn’t object to putting on my body, in theory.  But as I don’t work in an office, and it’s a little too floral to be a wallpaper scent for me, I’d rather wear something else.  Leading me, in roundabout fashion, to the top of today’s review: Gucci Envy.

Envy came out in 1997, when I had a toddler, a baby, and a more-than-full-time corporate job that involved travel.  Whatever marketing message they were sending out with Envy, I missed it. I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve walked by a bottle of Envy without once picking it (or any of its spawn) up for a sniff.  I’d be able to buy one of those MDCIs and an Amouage, or maybe I’d dial up the Roja Dove boutique instead and see if they have any of that discontinued Les Larmes Sacrees de Thebes under the counter… anyway, how it is I’ve gotten to this point in my life and in perfumery without a hint of Envy I have no idea, but there you have it.  It’s pretty hard to dig up a list of notes, here’s one cobbled together from Osmoz that seems plausible: bergamot, freesia, peach, hyacinth, magnolia, lily of the valley, rose, jasmine, cedar, sandalwood, orris, musk.   The fragrance was done by Maurice Roucel.  I had no idea.  Maybe I’d have tried it sooner.

Envy is, if nothing else, an interesting study in how tastes have changed in mass-market perfumery.   It’s a green floral, and a big one – one of those goes-with-cigarettes scents like Estee Lauder Azuree the original, Estee Lauder Jasmine White Moss, and Issey Miyake A Scent, although there’s no oakmoss finish to Envy.  The first five minutes are sweet and fruity, rather synthetically so, like the hairspray top notes of the Rush bottle next door crept in.  It feels a bit dated in a fun way, as if I’d oversprayed Chanel Cristalle and suddenly time-tripped back to 1984 for a pineapple daiquiri and a cigarette on the outside patio of the local watering hole.   Then the top fades and it’s both green/metallic (hyacinth and the LOTV) and watery – I get a lot of magnolia – and as it drifts toward the drydown it becomes progressively more musky/woody.  The florals aren’t identifiable individually to me beyond the touch of rose.  Envy’s got the velvety curves of muguet rather than the sharpness of galbanum, and it’s never as dry or sharp (or grown-up) as, say, Azuree, but it’s quite pretty.  It seems far more sophisticated than most of the new mass-market scents I run into.

People are still making green florals – there’s the Jasmine White Moss and A Scent right there on my list – but those seem more exclusive, or niche-ier, in terms of demographic.  What’s Gucci making now to lure the huddled masses?  Flora and Guilty, two fragrances that fit in seamlessly, scent-wise, with the newer offerings on the shelf at Macy’s and Sephora.  The idea of releasing a scent that smells like Envy to the same market (18 to 30 year olds?) it was aimed at fifteen years ago seems absurd to me.   It must have been the Obsession (or the Poison) of its day, right?  For the party-going 20-somethings? These days it’s Gwen Stefani and Coach, cupcakes and light musk, nothing that’s going to pull a groin muscle.

I’ve enjoy my continuing journey through the powerhouse scents of the 1980s and 1990s, most of which I missed, not really being into perfume at the time.  There’s always another surprise out there, no matter how assiduously I sniff.   Envy is stirring my faint memories of green scents with LOTV … does anyone out there remember Sung?  How about Fidji?  Wow, that’s much older, from the 60’s.  I knew a lot of women wearing it in the 80’s.   Who wore Envy back in the day, raise your hand?  How did you feel about it?  How do you feel about it now?

This is interesting too!

147 Comments

  1. I’m thinking the Turin quote is from Vanilia but it wasn’t quite word-for-word so I’ll let you decide.

    I always sprayed Envy on testers but never put it on skin. I wish I did, though; I think I like green florals (A Scent was great on tester strips and I loved the bottle but if it’s not in Nordies or Sephora I don’t generally get around to it.)

    Also, I LOVE ginger so I wish I could find a tester bottle around. Maybe in a discount perfume store….

    • Tigs helped me out — it was in Narciso, but for Balenciaga Talisman (see next comment.) I actually looked at the Vanilia review among others, thinking it was there!

      Ginger is entirely too hard to find in fragrance. The Men’s is usually in Sephora, which is where I tried it, and they can be picked up cheap on eBay if they’re partials.

  2. Using my freakish memory for useless information, I can tell you that the “vulgarity like a richly deserved holiday from good taste” line is in LT’s Narciso Rodriguez for Her review, and it refers to Balenciaga’s Talisman. For the record, I prefer Balenciaga’s Rumba, which ups the vulgarity about ten notches.

    • Thank you so much! It was driving me crazy that I couldn’t find it, although I did remember enough that I knew it referred to another perfume than the one being reviewed. Talisman and Rumba are … something. I have a bottle of Rumba that could scent all of downtown Manhattan.

      • OMG YES! on the Rumba. I got that from you, Tigs (thank you) and I remember spritzing it and experiencing the urge/desperate need to jump back from my own wrist. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just so damn HUGE! March is right: it’s like the Sta-Puf Marshmallow Man! I will never get rid of it because it is so train-wreckly fascinating – but I now always spray it on a blotter.

        xo>-)

  3. I’d love to hear your thoughts on an 80’s favorite of mine, K de Krizia, which apparently put Maurice Roucel on the map…I just sprayed some on last night and fell in love all over again…

    • …. and adding that to the list of scents I’ve not tried, although I should. It’s very hit/miss. I tried Lagerfeld’s Sun Moon STars and thought it was just awful.

    • Funny you should mention K di Krizia–I used to wear it back in the day, big insane aldehydic floral chypre, sort of a funhouse-mirror Chanel No. 5 with a ton of basenotes and no self-restraint–because just last night I dug out my Krizia Uomo, which is sort of the men’s version, same oversized personality but with a ton of leather in it.

  4. Ok, lost my message, will redo….I was saying, I love Envy for Men! A lot. Because of this and LT’s review, I bought the “ladies'” version, sniffed. For me the lotv overwhelms the other notes, the ones I love. Back to the men’s…..when I tested it at Sephora recently, not only was it a different color, but it smelled totally different, not in a good way. The new blue green juice lacked what I had perceived as almost incense-y nuance that the older leaf green had . Am I crazy??? Or did they formulate it?

    • ohnoes! well, it could be reformulated … they do that all the time, frankly. Or you might have just run across a bad bottle, let’s face it, those things sit under the hot lights in Sephora and fry.

      • Envy shouldn’t fry, because since it was packaged in a clear glass bottle inside a clear acrylic box, they cleverly put a UV-protective coating on the box. Really. Don’t know if they still do that, but they made a point of saying so when the scent first came out.

        • Yeah baby, but that sad tester bottle is sitting there box-less under the lights! I smell crap testers more often than I should. That’s neat about the box, though, I didn’t know that!

  5. I had a brief moment with the (ladies) Envy, and then it just starting getting toooo suh-weet. So I gave it to a friend, knowing the fling was over. I still need a green floral hit now and again, and like Ca Sent Beau on occasion, but have OD’ed on the genre overall.

    I wore Sung for quite a while, and miss the older version-it was gutted and can now be found at the discounters, in a sad state ; (

    My favorite 80s-type scent, though I believe it was released a little later, was the Guess brand scent in the twisty bottle. It’s a huge-shouldered amber monster, and I still spot it on for the memories…

    • Alrighty then, not trying Sung. 🙁 Guess! There’s a flashback. And I like the Guess Gold on you too.

      The Envy sorta worked on me because it’s not too sharp, but man, that opening is sweet. Weird and sweet.

  6. Fidji, that’s the 70ies for me! My first self-chosen scent, and also a protest act against all the Charlie-wearing girls at school (the vast majority)… I’ve never tried it again since then, but will now :)

    • Did Charlie ever smell any better? I mean, I think it smells like hell now, but I wonder if it used to be different? It’s so abrasive.

      • I don’t know what it smells like now, but back in the 70’s it was hideous. I had to ask an office neighbor to stop wearing it because it was literally making me ill.

        • I don’t know which is was: Charlie? Or the incredible overapp that everyone did. I put it in that Polo genre – some scents seemed to worm their way into the collective and hiss ‘ spray morrrre. No, mooooooooooorrrrre. MOOOOOOORRRRRRRE!’ until the wearer was soaked in it. Kinda like the Wal-Mart checker who told me (about some ungodly waft) “I just stand in front of the sprayer until my chest is wet”.

          xo >-)

          • I remember that line. You’re right, people who were putting on Charlie didn’t seem to be doing so with a light hand.

  7. I went through many bottles of Fidji, and then it sort of disappeared. I have now reclaimed it thru’ *bay, vintage of course, and it is still a gorgeous scent,and quite modern in feeling; it gives me a vibe a bit like the wonderful Amoreuse.
    My 80’s monster was Must de Cartier – was it the beginning of the vanilla gourmand?? I know Luca hates it! I also had Paris, and the Lagerfield one that was like Opium but a bit more Tabu-y.
    Gosh, those were the days when mainstream perfume had such character!
    Thank goodness for Serge!

    • I tried Fidji in Paris, I should dig some more up. I thought it was lovely.

      I have a vintage Cartier package here I should dig into, I was waiting for the weather to cool off.

      • Very late to the party, but ladies, had to comment on the Must de Cartier, my big love from the ’80s. Still enjoy the original and its offspring — they had character in spades! March, when you dig into that vintage Cartier, would love to hear your thoughts.
        And that K de Krizia is ringing my bell as well. Didn’t wear lean, mean and green Envy too much, but I did like it and had a dear friend who adored it. Which reminds me, a bottle of that would be a wonderful blast from the past for her come the holidays. Thanks for the sniff down memory lane!

  8. Thoughts of Fidji take me right back to the early 70s. I thought I was so sophisticated wearing this because (as Bee says) all the other girls at college wore wearing Charlie. Tragedy struck and a bottle leaked into my bag, and it reeked of Fidji for months (if not years) afterwards and left an indelible scent memory in my brain – which is why I am so convinced that the current version does not smell as good. I used to think it had a vague hint of banana to it – did anyone else get that?

    Later in the decade I turned to Cristalle, which is still one of my favourites even though it now is heavier on the jasmine and lighter on the citrus. And, naturally, I like EL’s Jasmine and White Moss. I think I like green, and maybe I should give Envy a sniff.

    • Banana would make sense to me in Fidji, which I think had a buncho white flowers. You get banana as a side of jasmine sometimes, and I think just the sweetness of LOTV sometimes registers to me as a bit banana-jam.

      The Envy’s not as deliberate as, say, Jasmine White Moss. There’s something a wee bit trashy about it, even though it’s got that nice LOTV note. It’s an interesting combination.

  9. I have a mini of Envy, and it has that Allyl Glycolate (the pineapple note) that makes me run for the hills. There’s also lily, same thing. But those are just personal opinions; I must have had a bad experience with a bouquet of Stargazers and a pineapple once. (LoTV, on the other hand, is ok with me). I wish I liked it more, because it’s a good scent, not as out-there as Rush but definitely makes its presence known.

    I love most of the va-va-voom 80’s scents, except for Giorgio and, to some extent, Poison. The original Must de Cartier perfume smelled nothing like the sweet-amber-vanilla it is today. It was intoxicating, with a deep growl, and I still don’t know how they did it. The EDT was loaded with galbanum and smelled almost spicy. An early, sad reformulation.

    • I have a sample of that Must! I really need to dig it out, it’s sitting right here. I was waiting for fallish weather. And I totally agree on the Envy, that is pineapple, isn’t it? It’s very sweet up front, I wouldn’t want to drench myself in it, although mercifully it fades.

  10. 1997? Don’t know why I thought it was older than that. This was just before I realised I might have a perfume addiction (I probably wouldn’t even have admitted an interest but bottles of Feu d’Issey and Helmut Lang amongst the Chanel 19 are, in retrospect, a total giveaway). I remember picking up Envy several times and trying it on paper and skin and liking it but not enough to purchase. I think I still had a bottle of Ralph Lauren Safari and that satisfied my desire for green florals. Next time I pass it I’m going to pick it up to see how I now feel. One thing I know – for me it will beat the sh*t out of Coco Mademoiselle.

    • Well, that’s what the internets tell me, but I wouldn’t swear to it at gunpoint. I thought it was older too. OTOH Addict only goes back to 2002ish and I though IT was older. RL Safari would have gotten the job done just as well… and you’re right about Coco Mad.

      • OMG! that’s another one I used to wear (it’s alllll coming back to me now)…I loved Safari!

        does it still smell like it used to?

        xo >-)

          • You know what made me sad? Remember the original Ralph Lauren in the red bottle? I think it’s d/c’d anyway (maybe not) but the last time I smelled it, it didn’t smell right. All the girls were wearing that when I was in high school.

            • That was the one I meant when I went all OOOh on Safari. I don’t even remember if I ever smelled Safari – it was the red square bottle one I was channeling.

              Obviously the 80s are a blur….

              xo >-)

  11. Sung! I hugged a friend the other day, and she was wearing so much, that I felt she probably wanted it to be noticed, so I asked what it was. I did not care for it at all, but apparently, she has loved it for years and recently snapped up all the bottles she found at Marshall’s. I would love to smell the pre-reformulation scent, because it has to have been so much better for her to choose it originally.

    It always surprises me when someone does not notice that a previously beloved perfume does not smell great anymore. Is the ghost of the original enough that your unconscious fills in the rest, perhaps?

    • Someone upstairs was just complaining about the reformulated Sung. And your question is so interesting … to me, the current Chanel Coco is a ghost of itself, although the parfum is all right. It’s depressing. They’ve added more sugar and deleted some of the spice. I wonder if your friend put it on and smelled the memory of it, not the thing itself right now? Yes, I think we’d notice and give up.

    • Oh yes, so true…I am so addicted to Mitsouko I notice every tiny nuance, and in some ways my ‘perfume renaissance’ can be traced to the strange unsettelled worried feeling I got when I bought my first bottle of tampered-with Mits…and I nearly went crazy in a powder room in a Sydney department store some years ago when I smelled the waft left by someone spraying themselves in there; I knew it was “Mitsouko”…but it wasn’t!
      What annoys me is that I blamed myself because I’d read somewhere that you lose your sense of smell as you get older!
      Pleased to report that so far not true.

    • They blame themselves.

      I can’t tell you how relieved my mother was to learn that Femme had been reformulated. She thought she was nuts.

      • Lord!!! FEMME?!?!? Like … from the original civet-fest to the cuminy younger model? Your mom must have thought she’d lost her mind indeed. Or her sense of smell.

        • She was just so sad! It disappeared for awhile, before it came back in its new guise (as happens) and my Dad had snagged an early issue bottle for her on a business trip in Europe. He was so proud of himself, finding her lost perfume. And then she opened it up and…

          (Wishing for the dang emoticons again.)

    • Actually, I have deep, deep suspicions that most people don’t actually pay that much attention to how their scent smells; they just think “oh, this smells nice, I’ll wear it”, stick with it, and never really notice if it changes. Or, if they do notice a change, they either dismiss it (“nah, I can’t be smelling what I think I’m smelling/I must be congested/etc”) or convince themselves it must have always smelled that way…. It takes attention, analysis, and in some cases a very trained nose to detect most changes, and I suspect most people just don’t put that much thought into their scent of choice. The best analogy I can think of is opera; while most people can identify opera, they can’t differentiate among the different styles, performers, or composers, and don’t want to or don’t have the time or interest to develop their knowledge of the genre enough to be able to do so.
      (I just realized how incoherent this is… blame a couple of days of food poisoning plus having to go to a job interview whilst in the midst of abdominal agony… it took all my remaining energy yesterday to be coherent and *peppy* in that interview, and I still have yet to recover from it. I’m off to bed now….)

      • 😮

        YOU WENT TO AN INTERVIEW WITH FOOD POISONING?

        Gah! You’d better get that damn job! And they need to pay you double!

        Just sayin’.

        Feel better, doll. Get some rest.

        xo >-)

        • Aww, thank you! Normally I would have asked for the interview to be rescheduled, but in this case it wasn’t possible, and since I *really* need a job I pulled myself together and went. I do feel much better today, the infection seems to be nearing an end (and it seems some of my discomfort was due to me — wait for it — concurrently passing a kidney stone. Yep. A KIDNEY STONE. When it rains, it hurricanes.). I won’t find out if I get the job for about a week or so, so I plan on spending the next few days recuperating and avoiding more oversharing ;)

  12. Some philosophy:

    Perfume seems to be the piece of jewelry that we adorn ourselves with to feel more complete.
    Old ones, current ones, the search will never end because we will never feel complete.

  13. I’m so surprised and pleased to see this review! I have been an Envy-wearer for at least 10 years. When I worked corporate it was my daily office scent and now that I work from my house I still wear it often (and will put it on today in honor of your review). It took the place of my beloved Calandre during a time when I couldn’t wear C. due to troublesome upstart emotions that it triggered. That’s all been resolved now, thankfully.

    I found Envy when I was testing Rush, as a matter of fact, and liked it better. so my Big 3 right now are Cartier’s So Pretty, Envy, and Calandre with Chanel 22 when I can get it without selling a body part.

  14. Having missed out on the entire world of perfume, including my old reliable drugstore scents, from the 90s through about 2005, I didn’t smell Envy when it was new. In fact, I think the only things I noticed were cKOne, Sunflowers, and Dune, because friends were wearing them. I couldn’t afford such luxuries, or so I thought, and so I didn’t go sniffing.

    WHen I got interested in perfume, one of the first things I realized is that I love green florals, and I went looking for Envy. Could not find it in any local brick’n’mortars, so I bought a mini off ebay for a few bucks and eagerly opened the package…

    I cannot stand it. It comes across to me as hideously chemical, and I wasn’t sure why until I saw Olfacta’s comment up there about that so-called pineapple note. I think it’s the one in Giorgio that bothers me so much, so that makes sense. I look at the list of notes for Envy and think, “Yep, sounds like My Kinda Thang,” but it’s not, it’s soooo not.

    • Somehow I avoided the big-hair, big-sillage 80s blockbusters, too. Hated Poison, hated Obsession… probably would’ve hated Paris too at the time, what with everyone’s compulsive overspritzing. I was actually glad when people began wearing cKOne, because it was at least not chasing me down the halls of my workplace, like Obsession had. I didn’t actually like the *smell* of it, I just felt less trapped by it.

      And I notice I’ve done about a 150-degree turn on the matter – not quite a complete turnaround – in that I’ve developed an appreciation for perfume that smells like perfume, as opposed to the “spray-on detergent” or “melted popsicles” scents currently popular. I actually bought a mini bottle of vintage Poison esprit de parfum on ebay recently, just so I can sniff it. It still smells like tuberose-cherry death to me, but, for heaven’s sake, THAT’s a perfume.

      • an appreciation for perfume that smells like perfume, as opposed to the “spray-on detergent” or “melted popsicles” scents currently popular. — what a perfect way of putting it. And that Poison Esprit is stunning. 🙂

          • Well, I’ll say that the Poison esprit is stunningly POTENT. If anyone in my house could smell this week, they’da been run out by now.

            • STUNNING I TELL YOU. That woman who backed away from me in the grocery store?!? She was ADMIRING IT. I know that looked like fear on her face, but it was ADMIRATION. She even guessed correctly what it was before she scurried off.

          • Wait, which part of my babble isn’t making sense?

            First part is me quoting from the commenter, who admires perfumes that don’t smell like popsicles. Second ………. oh, god, what a dumbass I am, YES THERE IS A POISON ESPRIT. For those of us for whom …. Poison JUST ISN’T QUITE STRONG ENOUGH. 8-x

            It’s the (neutron) bomb.

            • I WANT. Seriously, I WANT. Perhaps it’s a combination of innate perversity + a desire to inflict a scent of my choice on others (husband, possibly soon to be coworkers, the population of this entire county), perhaps it’s the desire to experience a classic scent in a different concentration, perhaps it’s memories of an aunt I love who was given a bottle by my mom and was *actually able to pull off wearing Poison*, perhaps it’s that food poisoning mentioned above… but I have a new lemming. And if I get this job, by God, IT WILL BE MINE.

              P.S. What is the difference between parfum and esprit de parfum?
              (And NOW I’m off to bed)

              • Well, in the case of Poison, it’s the difference between being bitten to death by monkeys and being bitten to death by flying monkeys.

                xo >-)

                • OH. Perfect analogy… this just made my whole day better!

                  Ninara, I think Poison only came in “eau de toilette,” either “soft cologne” or “eau de cologne” (sorry, my mememememory is sort of bad on this point), or The Big Gun, “esprit de parfum.”

                  • Thank you! I thought I remembered it being available as an edt and an edp, but I was a kid when Poison was originally released, so tiny little details like concentration tended to fall by the wayside back then. :)

                    • Well, it’s not like there was a “light” version, people were killing their coworkers with the EDT. Having said that, the Esprit is worth getting if you like the scent.

  15. I didn’t wear much fragrance in the 80’s because so many of them gave me allergic reactions–so cannot offer any opinion.

    But I do have an opinion on that photo–she looks like she’s trying to make him fwow up.

      • I had to stare at it for several minutes to figure out that it was HER thumb in HIS mouth. When I first opened this up, I thought, “Eewwww…. what’s he throwing up?”

          • you guess?

            you GUESS?

            uh…

            okay ;))

            this would be funnier if I could get the emoticons to work) 😀

            xo >-)

            fwiw, it looked to me like a salamander (minus the spots) was slithering out of his mouth…but that’s good, right? Better ‘out’ than ‘in’?

        • Or like he’s having a fit and she’s trying to prevent him from swallowing his own tongue.

  16. March, that’s a whole lotta lippage goin’ on in that photo!

    My 80s blockbuster was Paris – and I wore a lot of it, alas. Envy was one I actually liked because of the green, but then it got really plastic-shrieky and I had to put it down. My hair was ginormous, too, as were my Claude Montana-suited shoulders. Ah…those were the days….. ;-D

    The 80s were also when I first started thinking about perfume ‘status’ – I wore Joy because it was JOY and IT COST A LOT OF MONEY! I actually liked the way it smelled but that’s not why I bought it – me and Gordon Gekko and the hair and the shoulder pads and the nipped-in waists….gah! I had a nipped-in waist, then!

    My men’s favorite back then was Grey Flannel – it smelled lovely and men who wore it seemed less likely to overapply, unlike the Poloards. Mals talked about feeling ‘trapped’ by a fragrance – Polo would leap off a passing man, chase you down the block and bludgeon you with an olfactory axe. And then it would steal your purse.

    xo>-)

    • I didn’t meet Paris until a coupla years ago, but I like it. Whooeee, it’s big – but I like it. I can’t imagine why nobody I knew was wearing it then, unless it just wasn’t available. (Why not? I know YSL fragrances were at the local department stores. And we’re Southerners around here, you’d have thought we’d all fall in luuuvv with big swoony florals. )

      Funny, I don’t remember smelling a lot of Polo either. Drakkar Noir was ubiquitous at college (late 80s), along with Brut and Stetson, but I didn’t smell nearly enough Old Spice on hot young men back then.

      I wonder if regionalism comes into what people wear, to some degree?

      • I was wearing Paris in the 1980s, one of the few fragrances I can recall wearing, but probably more because of its advertising. Have a couple vintage bottles now. I think it’s stunning.

        • did I ever tell my Paris story? I was standing at the fragrance counter, waiting for my fave SA and this guy was buying perfume for his mother? his wife? who knows…anyway, we chatted for a brief spell, then I went over to ogle the YSL lippies (back when I wore contacts and had the nerve to wear a Bright Pink Lip) – anyway, when I got my package, there was a gift-wrapped box of Paris in there – the SA said it was from the guy, who was long-gone. He just thought I was charming to talk to and felt like doing something nice. Wasn’t that delightful?

          Wonder what I’d get now? A tube of Ben-Gay? A bottle of Zanax?

          😕

          xo>-)

    • Yeah! Claude Montana! That whole look with the ginormous shoulder pads. Yeesh. You have some height. I look back at some of those photos and I think I look like a curly haired troll. Remember that 80s frizzy white girl hair?! With those weird bangs? It’s fun to pick it out in 80s movies.

      Envy def. has the shriek-y plastic but it’s still more interesting and twisted than The New Stuff at the mall.

      • Elisabeth Shue ROCKED that look, as did whatshername now married to Antonio…uh Melanie Griffith! Remember Working Girl? Lawd.

        1stdibs has a white Claude Montana suit (complete with fishtail) that I owned in midnight blue, back in the day. Now, I couldn’t get my ankle in that skirt! He always had such nice fittings on his suits. But what on earth was I thinking with the fishtail/fantail jacket ? :”>

        xo >-)

        • Working Girl!!!! That HAIR!!! Plus everyone smoked, remember that? I think she AND whatsername from Alien smoked…

          You killed me with that photo. What a suit.

  17. I was 11 years old back in 1997 so I can’t say I wore it “back in the day”, but I definitely came across it in my teens. I never liked it, to be honest, and scrunched my nose at girls who wore it (scent snob even back then!). It always seemed neither here nor there. Not a fresh scent per se, not a sweet scent, not a flower, not a musk. It’s funny that you mention hairspray because that’s exactly what it reminds me of.

    Loved 80s scents though. My mom wore Opium and Poison – the kind of scents that were banned from hospitals back then! I occasionally wear Opium for sentimental value, but largely don’t wear the 80s scents on a regular basis. I came across Fidji not too long ago, and as much as I am trying to love it, the chemistry is just not there. Would’ve loved to see a sweet creamy note in there.

    • I do agree it’s a kind of neither-here-nor-there scent — that’s a good perspective. It’s kind of a green scent for girls, with that hairspray note. I still find it curious that such a scent would have been created for the demographic we’re feeding Pink Sugar to.

      Opium and Poison, yum!

  18. Giggle. Snort. Yes, Francesca that is exactly what it looks like!

    I still enjoy wearing Balmain’s Ivoire – very’ 80’s, very green. Readily available online and at discounters, though hardly ever often found in retail stores. Worth sampling if you enjoy the genre.

  19. So nice to see this review. Envy is not my thing, but there is a noticeable difference between the edt vs. edp vs parfum. The edt is so shrill, while the latter two definitely have more charm. I smell some pear and green grass in the parfum.

    Looking at that advert, it seems so incongruous to what Envy actually smells like.

    • Pear and green grass in the parfum sounds particularly nice. And there were other ads for Envy, including an anorexic blonde rooting around on a man-model. I guess I was supposed to be envious.

  20. I missed a few of the ginormous 80’s ones too. But I do have a question…about the ubiquitous Giorgio…if banned from restaurants…how did that one go over with men? Did men snuff that stuff down and go GORGEOUS…I can’t get enough!??? What drove it’s popularity? What was it’s marketing strategy? I only really know this one through smelling strips in magazines at the time and kind of drifting in the air.

    • I’ve read Luca Turin’s description of Giorgio many times. It’s one of the more interestingly informative (as opposed to clever) ones, in my opinion, deconstructing the way the thing is built. He gives it four stars I believe and admires it as a monument to “classical” perfumery. I can’t argue with his reasoning, but I find it unbearable, probably for the reason so many others do — bad memories of people who’d bathed in it before going out.

  21. At the time, the huge power perfumes of the ’80s felt like an assault on the senses. Even today, if I’m unfortunate enough to catch a whiff of Giorgio in the air, I’ll walk swiftly in the other direction. However, I’m belatedly coming to realize that there were some truly wonderful perfumes hidden in all that olfactory aggression. My find of the summer was L’Arte di Gucci, a deeply passionate rose chypre, which I think came out in the early ’90s. It does make me wonder what else I missed back then.

    • They were such a statement, and some of them were more statement-making than others … it’s not like Diorissimo and Mitsouko were such wallflowers, though. I’m still meditating on how that’s different from Poison and Opium. And if there were any justice in this world, your Gucci would be on the shelf at Sephora instead of fifteen other things.

  22. I think of Envy as a concept scent — it’s a neon idea of green, not meant to smell natural. It reminds me of the lime green Otter Pops of my youth. Like all Roucel scents, it has a sense of humor (I almost wrote “scents of humor”). I don’t wear it often but I like having it around. The top notes, like those of Calyx, almost always make me cough/sneeze in their extreme acidity.

    • What’s an Otter Pop, E? Calyx smells like a compost pile on me, and I don’t mean that in a good way.

      And I haz a package for you. Finally. :)

      • They’re a particular brand of those kind of freezer pops that start off as liquid in a long plastic tube. You throw ’em in your freezer, then snip the end off and push the resulting popsicle up to eat. Otter Pops were remarkable in that each flavor had a corresponding character, each of whom was an anthropomorphized otter. :) My brother and I were rather fond of them.

        I seem to remember Tania Sanchez describing Calyx as “garbagey,” though she meant it in a good way.

        YAY package!!!

        • Calyx is way better than Envy, IMO, and they share that shrieky green thing. I was a huge Calyx girl back then – well, actually Calyx was a 90s thing for me. LucaTania call it ‘guava rose’ which is as good as anything else, I guess. I still like a hit of it now and then. And I think you’re right, Elisa – Envy is sort of ‘anti-natural’ – neon is the perfect decription!

          xo >-)

        • I think the Calyx reference was to either mango or something else like guava? That ripe-fruit effect. I admire Calyx very much but if I try to wear it, it almost always results in a headache. :”>

              • funny that – based on this thread I decided to spritz Calyx yesterday – Nausea City! Theeeeees close to a migraine, which would’ve really ooked out my day. Hit the showers way early.

                Calyx Works. Until it doesn’t.

                xo >-)

              • Alas no. Calyx makes me sneeze when I put it on. Does that count. I don’t mind, after a few sneezes, I am fine.

                Whenever I have a headache I opt for something really light, like Eau parfumée au thé vert.

        • Ohhhh. We just call those freezy pops… my kids are addicted to them in the summer. We did find a brand that seemed to have pineapple flavored ones, which I love and which no one else would eat.

    • That’s such a great take on Envy — the “idea” of green! I thought of it after awhile as a green with training wheels, an interesting mashup of something candied/hugely fake like Rush grafted onto a conservative green scent. It’s definitely a concept scent. I can enjoy it now, free of any associations with popularity, although I’m not rushing out to buy some after trying it, as I did with Rush (no pun intended.)

      We eat squeezy pops just like that here! Although I don’t recall any otters.

      • Rush is what I wore in college. Lately I’ve been trying to “figure it out” the way I do with new perfumes but it’s really difficult! It just smells like my 21-year-old self to me and I can’t seem to analyze it. Also, I suppose, the abstract composition resists analysis.

        I have it in my head that the Otter Pops were *especially* delicious but that probably just means marketing works on me. I just looked it up on Wikipedia and look, fun facts!:

        “In 1995, National Pax had planned to replace the ‘Sir Isaac Lime’ flavor with ‘Scarlett O’Cherry,’ until a group of Orange County, California fourth-graders created a petition in opposition and picketed the company’s headquarters in early 1996. The crusade also included an e-mail campaign, in which a Stanford professor reportedly accused the company of ‘Otter-cide.’ After meeting with the children, company executives relented and retained the Sir Isaac Lime flavor.”

        • That’s so funny about Otter pops! And I don’t have any past life 🙂 with Rush so it’s all good … oddly, I do have a “past” with Poison and Paris and Niki de St. Phalle, with some memories being happier than others, but nothing that interferes with my current enjoyment.

  23. I wore Sung back in the day. I considered it my “Fall” fragrance while Calyx was my “Summer” one. I still have both and pull these out to wear every so often. I’m gonna have to try Envy for men as I love ginger. Thank you for the post! I enjoyed reading it:)

    • And thanks for stopping by. I’m always surprised at how many people are still wearing Calyx. It comes up pretty regularly on here.

  24. I’m wearing a beautiful scent today with both green and some floral although I don’t think it’s really known as a green floral – Vol de Nuit in vintage extrait. It’s probably my HG scent if there ever was one. Great review (as always) but you created no interest whatsoever in smelling Envy. However you did activate a lemming for some Fidji, which I wore waaay back in the day.

    • I also love a vintage Vol de Nuit– I found a huge bottle of cologne in an antique store– it’s da bomb. I have a Fidji mini parfum, also from an antique store– it has a candied, cocnutty gardenia, which seems like a good thing to wear with a suntan. I don’t remember seeing it at all back in the day, though. I like it.

  25. I own a partial bottle of Envy edp. I think. I still haven’t decided whether I like it or not. I tend to like green florals. I love Calyx, Cristalle ( although strictly speaking that is not a floral), Jacomo Silences and others that I don’t remember now.
    I think I started wearing perfume in the 80’s. Anais Anais was my first proper perfume. Then came Paris, YSL, which I still wear (and unfortunately has been messed with.) If I had an exam I would spray myself with Paris “till my socks were wet”. It got me through Med. School I suppose.

    I have never consciously smelled Giorgio. I kind of liked Poison, never bought it then but now have a mini of esprit de parfum. A friend of mine would wear Amarige. It smelled really good on her, but again I was never moved to buy it. I wonder if people in Holland oversprayed as much as apparently they did in the States. I simply can’t remember whether people smelled of perfume more strongly then than they do now.

    There is quite a nice review on Bois de Jasmin of Envy. She used the same photo as you have today. I find it too blatant, and very unsexy. For the same reasons that some commenters there mentioned. But then tastes, fortunately, vary.

    • I seem to be the complete opposite of the apparently prevailing demographic…I just love smelling anything on anyone and always have.
      I think the human population is so stressed by overcrowding we have the white mice effect…chewing off each other’s tails in any attempt to assert ourselves, like ‘objecting’ to someone wearing perfume.
      I only wish I could experience the great feelings of admiration and curiosity I used to get when everyone wore some massive big frag, again! Its a powerful form of communication and self-confidence.

      • I think you are quite right, about using fragrance as a form of communication. I definitely used Paris as a confidence booster before exams.
        Where I live there are, as far as I know, no restrictions about wearing perfume. I restrict myself though. I just don’t feel that when working I should sport enormous sillage.

      • I think in certain parts of the world (like Paris) it’s permissible to smell “big” and nobody will complain. In certain parts of the US you better not be wafting. /:)

    • You are a green florals fan, aren’t you! There are a lot of them on here. I tend to admire rather than enjoy them, so Envy was a surprise to me in terms of how much I liked it.

  26. Never smelled Envy– I will keep an eye out for it. For me, Nikki de Ste Phaille is green and richly floral– the marigolds and mugwort are like a heady, pine-y green breeze. Love it. My vintage Galanos has a green whiff about it, but I forget the notes. Also, I think of Infin by Caron as having a green leafy note, and that was one of my most beloved frags 84-89. Hated Giorgio, but got a tester of it recently and enjoy sniffing it in the name of research. And, I thought the picture was hot. :)>-

    • Darling Niki is a wonderful scent, there’s a review on here somewhere. And it’s nice to know someone else besides me liked the photo!

  27. I’ve been wearing Envy for years – I still love it and always have a bottle. Envy Me, Me Too and whatever other ones — YAWN.

  28. Hi March,

    I’ve been reading Perfume Posse for (literally) years but have never commented before. I just had to put up my hand for Envy. Liked it and wore it back in the late 90s. Didn’t quite love it. It smelled bit “synthetic” to me; but while I dismissed it at first, I did end up with a bottle and wore it regularly. I ordered a decant from TPC a few years ago, thinking it would be so fun to re-visit an old friend…but I didn’t like it at all. However, I’d rather wear gallons of Envy than most of the new mainstream gunk coming out these days!

    Thanks, by the way, for the wonderful blog! I love reading your posts (and those of Patti and Lee and the rest of the gang). Maybe I won’t wait another 3 years before commenting again :) but either way, I’ll be here reading every morning!
    -Sam

    • Hey, thanks for stopping by! And delurking! It’s always nice to know when there are readers out there… it’s good to know someone wore the stuff back in the day and liked it.

  29. a bit late, but I’ve gone all nostalgic thinking about Fidji. However, my big powerhouse scent of the 80s was Diva (Ungaro), that might be something to try again too

  30. Envy, though interesting, never did it for me …Now Rush is another story; am on my second bottle…Love, love, love! It makes me feel very italian!

    Chloe was my first perfume… in highschool…my best friend at the time, who I thought was rather worldly and truly fantastic, wore it and I followed…

    When I spotted the new Chloe at the Bay, I literally leapt to the counter(probably knocking down a few unfortunate people who were in my way) in the hopes of reliving the scent of my adolescence, that which provoked a lifelong passion for perfume and smells… I sprayed (thankgoodness for those paper strips) and WHACK!… that was the sound of my disappointment…all of my teeming teenage memories that were now about to flood my consciousness at the possibility of Chloe immediately vanished or rather ran away in horror, gagging…

    Fortunately, I recently found a vintage Chloe EDT sample in my box that brought it all back… :)

    • I wore Chloe for years ‘n years too. Resmelled the vintage a couple of months ago, and it’s still wonderful, but too wound up with teenage memories for me to wear it now.

    • You really need to find the vintage, I agree, the new doesn’t smell quite right. I have a post on Chloe on here, my late mother in law wore it. It’s huge, but I like it.

  31. I am with you! sigh!
    How powerful perfume’s magic can be! Am constantly amazed by it’s hold on me… :)

  32. I loved Envy back in the day and I still do – but I don’t wear it any more, it’s really loud for a Green. Not good for work!

    I have never tried the men’s version, but I should.

    I liked Fidji but its name always seemed like a misnomer to me, too sweet and too much carnation spiciness for a “tropical” themed perfume. It was pretty big too, not for the shy!

    • Fidji was big, and I recall liking it but can’t conjure up its smell at all. If you’re fond of ginger the men’s is definitely worth trying.

Comments are closed.