Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
Gucci Envy proves the Easter fantasies in pastels that many spring flowers can inspire are not the only route for a modern floral. This composition released in 1997 has the quality that marks the most interesting of the large house releases—it does not try to be cerebral and unapproachable, yet it maintains the suspense. If Diorissimo creates an impression of capturing the smell of forest glens on a misty May morning, Envy is a gust of wind that brings spring into the city. …
The perfumer, Maurice Roucel, creates Envy in a manner that echoes the characteristics of modern architecture: rejection of florid ornamentation and simplification of form. The airy constructions of glass and steel give an artificial sense of fragility, and upon the first glance, Envy is liable to create the same impression. However, while its green floral accord dominated by lily of the valley and hyacinth has a metallic quality that endows a fragile effect to the floral overture, it simultaneously renders the composition edgy and assertive. In other words, these are not flowers of a debutante’s posy.
Roucel’s composition opens on a high pitched green note, which is accented by the saltiness of metal. Unlike the metallic notes in Paco Rabanne Calandre that create a warm effect, the metallic flowers of Envy freeze on the skin. Yet, like a piece of gold jewelry warms up on its wearer’s skin, over time Envy begins to display its more radiant side. The softness of the musky base layered with woody iris is an unexpected counterpoint to the sharp translucence of the green florals, and the finished result has the elegance and the exquisite fit of a perfectly tailored jacket.
The downside of success is fatigue that results from overexposure. The fresh florals like Envy have grown increasingly more fashionable, dominating the floral category ever since the 1990s. Nevertheless, despite the popularity of its genre, Envy remains one of the best compositions in the group. This modern floral beautifully demonstrates what the perfumer’s skill and imagination can do with as classical of a theme as lily of the valley. And that in itself is reason enough to try it.
Gucci Envy notes include hyacinth, magnolia, green notes, jasmine, lily of the valley, violet, iris, woods, musk. It has been discontinued.