Gucci Envy is one of the most exquisite perfumes I have ever smelled. I’ve never found anything similar and used to wear it all the time. The thrill of wearing it never wore off. I used to replace empty bottles as urgently as I would replace groceries. It was a must have, rather than a luxury. Then suddenly it was no longer in the shops anymore.
Created by Maurice Roucel in 1997, with a 90s urban edge in mind, Gucci Envy was discontinued in 2007. It’s still available on eBay if you have surplus cash and gold hanging about, but you cannot buy it in the shops anywhere anymore (EDIT– update it’s on Amazon UK right now but be quick! )
So what made it so special that it makes me emotional just to smell it now? ( a very kind soul took pity on me and sent me a decant- an enormous thank you to her!). In tests, Gucci Envy was not rubber stamped until its panel of testers rated it more highly, than Estee Lauder Pleasures . At the time Pleasures was its main competitor and was very “now” with its typically 90s fresh, airy appeal. Once Envy’s approval rating had beaten Pleasures, it was released upon a grateful public.
Opening notes are Lily of the Valley, Green notes, and Hyacinth. In the middle there is a sort of clean metallic note, almost like a silvery chord gone wrong in the middle. This works very well with the combo of Lily of The Valley and Hyacinth ( and a breeze of Freesia). If it were a colour it would be light green. It was so clean and airy and fresh that it was ideal for daytime, and indeed I wore it to the office every day.
So why was it discontinued? Theories include internal politics. Tom Ford was there when it was created and is not there now. Did he steal the recipe and escape, whilst laughing a villain’s laugh and blipping a security guard on the head? Or maybe another more plausible theory holds water: that of insanity and a disdain for making money.
I’m sticking with theory two. I wrote to the Gucci website with faux bafflement, asking why I couldn’t find Gucci Envy. They replied
“Please note that Gucci Envy is no longer in production as we always look for new combinations of scents that the market has not explored yet. For this reason we invite you to visit one of our stores to experience the fragrances available and choose the right one”. (sic)
In other words, they cannot make a perfume I definitely love and definitely want to buy because they are too busy making perfume I might love and might want to buy. Does that make sense? No.
Recently I entered the Perfume Shop and asked to try Gucci Envy Me, hoping against hope there may be some similarities. There weren’t. Envy Me is pleasant and clean smelling, like a pile of fresh laundry, but Envy it is not. Nor is Gucci Envy Me 2. In fact why create two flankers when you have stopped making the Real McCoy?
I am not alone. Posters on Basenotes want it, posters on Fragrantica want it, and perfumistas on Mumsnet want it back. Sales were not dropping off. It was not going out of fashion. It was not impossible to make.
So it just leaves me weeping over my precious decant, asking a cold shouldered corporation “WHY? Did someone have a bowl of crazy for breakfast? Don’t you want my money?”
I don’t think they’re listening.
PS If you’re missing it, I have found three scents that will do as a stand in until Gucci sees sense: Isabella Rosselini Manifesto, Jo Loves No 42 The Flower Shop and Issey Miyake A Scent.