FLORAL CORSETRY : CHAMPS ELYSEES by GUERLAIN (1996)

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A fresh, pleasant,  prim and proper, yet slightly humourless creature that was quite anomalous in the Guerlain lineup when it was first released– no powdery gourmand tones, no vague hint, even, of curve-licking odalisque – Champs Elysées, a somewhat distancing, snooty, cleaner-than-thou scent of tight-waisted, glassy imperviousness, was created, in the mid nineties,  among a short-lasted, miniature wave of neo-classicism.

Alongside Cartier’s So Pretty, Gucci’s Envy, and their American equivalents Estée Lauder‘s Pleasures and White Linen Breeze, this new departure for Guerlain heralded in a new, rain-clear floralcy; well-mannered to a fault; upright: petals-and-leaves only if you please: no musks and vanillas nor any other funky business……just that girded, upright, floral frame around which to structure your smiling, but guarded, PTA- friendly persona.

Yet I like it. I wear it ( in vintage ). We need such scents sometimes: scents for all manner of moods and situations, and Champs Elysées is, in my opinion, rather lovely. It is a well balanced floral that gleams with the tonic green of April:  sharp, penetrating blackcurrant leaves and buddleia flowers grace a clarified, wistful mimosa, sharp, green rose, and almond blossom/ hibiscus in new, optimistic fashion.

 

Champs Elysees is a unique perfume that I would recommend wholeheartedly for those who want to smell in control, ‘classical’, yet with a certain girdled, sexual impermeability that can be strangely beckoning and enticing. A lady at a Japanese department store once told me that although this perfume attracts fewer buyers now than it once did, those that do wear it will probably wear it for life. It is still in production, still has its admirers, and, by now, despite the naysayers ( Luca Turin in particular),  it is probably deserving of something like (minor) classic status. I might wear a little today.

33 Comments

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33 responses to “FLORAL CORSETRY : CHAMPS ELYSEES by GUERLAIN (1996)

  1. Katherine

    Oh no… Hope your day is as well as can be! I am a somewhat hardened work machine myself at the moment.

  2. Katherine

    Though actually this sounds rather nice – some clarity and elegance and perhaps refreshingly restrained?

  3. Katherine

    Restrained is possibly the wrong word….do I mean not loud? I’m thinking of something but have no words. You have probably already said it here very well!

  4. Katherine

    In fact you definitely have, I am too slow to comprehend and too quick to comment!

    • All comments welcome nevertheless! Hope your new job is going well and you are not driven to the maniacal heights of salariman excess…

      Champs is good, but not essential ( and it’s been reformulated, anyway: why is EVERY perfume changed?!!!)

      The bottle I bought at UK duty free last August is NOT the same as the older one I got in Japan a few years ago, which I am basing this review upon. I still have a miniature of the old one and, strangely, considering it is so feminine in some ways, got compliments from female students when wearing it: a suave, gentle, green mimosa on moi)

  5. I had a girlfriend who wore this often and it was pleasant but I preferred Pleasures. And now that you tell me it is reformulated…forget it! There was a commenter who recently said (and I am paraphrasing) “I won’t disturb my olfactory memory with re-formulations” …something to that effect to which I replied ” I could not have said it better myself!” We were discussing vintage Cristalle….
    Back to work? Good luck and try to stay sane!! I know I am NOT!!

  6. Katherine

    I just looked up salariman, and not quite, more like cafe/bar, and a pretty laidback one at that, in fact it’s perhaps my most bearable job to date! Not so new now either.

    I tried Mitsouko again in the parfum the other week and maybe my mood was different but there was something less convincing about it, more thin or synthetic, which doesn’t make much sense compared to the edt and with no vintage to compare it to, just clearly not quite what it should have been…

    I wish it were really spring and I was in Paris trying perfume!…

    • Sorry I confused you with Japan-living Cath who most certainly would know what a salariman is!

      Mitsouko is a dodgy number. Stray further, K, stray further…..

      I have a backlog of packages to send, so I can’t make any promises just yet, but at some point when I can get my act together I will send you some vials of various recommendations. Until that time tell me what you have trying, what you have liked and not liked, and let me steer you in directions. In London there is a LOT to try.

      Just float on down to Fortnum and Mason’s one afternoon and go up to the perfume department. No one seems to know about it and you won’t be bothered. You can try all manner of things like the Micallefs and the Carons, and just sniff and dream. That is the way to do it. Or if you want to be a real maniac like me, take a book, a pen, and spray TONS of samples on cards and put them in between the pages, taking care not to let them contaminate each other. Waking up the next day is wonderful, when you can properly see how they have developed. Then sneak back and retry those that might potentially hook you…

      • Try Nocturnes de Caron, Kath! (unless Neil thinks the re-formulation is bad?)

      • Katherine

        Yes! Thanks, I tried Nocturnes on a trip to Les Senteurs on the only nice sunny day we’ve seen this year and it did stand out as something really lovely, I was also going between that and Bal a Versailles, and Nocturnes seemed a little more romantic and summery to me on that day. I was holding out for some vintage but I might give up on that… So I take it Brie you have older versions?

      • Katherine

        Thank you Neil, I really appreciate your advice!!

        I have already taken a notebook out with a list of perfumes that have interested me (mostly from you of course!) and headed to Fortnum and Mason and was indeed left to try as much as I liked, and I think it is certainly the nicest place I’ve been to in London for perfume, really quiet! The weather’s been so awful here, and I’ve been working too much, but the next day I have to myself will definitely be floating around, dreaming away, perfume, an exhibition, enjoying the city again. Will do the perfume on cards thing…

      • brie

        I do have the original Nocturnes (had a 6 oz bottle which is now down to just about nothing) but there are a few online discounters that sell the vintage…you can differentiate by the bottles… I have not tried the re-formulation but is sounds like you found it to be lovely.

      • jennyredhen

        What a good idea about putting the cards in a book.. I always put them in different pockets of my bag but putting them in a diary or similar is much better. Lately you have commented on White Linen and say you like it so I am going to try it soon as well as Tommy Girl and Noa by Cacherel I think these would all be light weight and nice for the summer…. as well as being very affordable and easily available.. then I will choose one… Luca Turin raves about Tommy Girl.

  7. Oh, this is a classic and I love it. My sister swears by this as a tonic for when she’s down in the dumps. It is a breezy light fragrance and so womanly. The bottle is rather fine; it reminds me of an ice-cream cone! I don’t care what anyone says I LOVE the reformulation! I used to buy vintage on ebay, but quite frankly some of the sellers were so impatient and so rude when I was a little late in paying, I thought I would take my custom elsewhere. I only buy from Department Stores now (of course, hiding the receipts from hubby! LOL!). I must check out Fortnum and Masons – I didn’t know about the SECRET perfume shop. How utterly jolly. I have only bought cheese and port from there before. Hey-ho, bang goes the Christmas fund! Thank you.

    • Yes, I like buying perfumes new too Cat, and would just love to get into vintage but cannot cope with the dust! Sets me sneezing like the clappers! I have a passion for model ships but had to give up collecting them because every sojourn to an antique shop set my nose running for England and glowing as red as a beetroot! I prefer everything new anyway. Happy shopping!

  8. Dear Ginza
    Formal floral with a good dose of cassis leaf.
    Sounds like the chilly distant type of thing The Dandy rather likes.
    Like Balmain de Balmain less the chypre structure…
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  9. I once owned Champs Elysées but never was quite into it. Nocturnes de Caron on the other hand is a totally different story. I still have that one in the original formula but seldom wear it now.

    • Of course I prefer Nocturnes ( I LOVE Nocturnes), but I can’t quite remember why we are comparing them. Nocturnes is a beautiful mandarin/stephanotis vetiver vanilla scent with some clean sheen, for sure, whereas CE is a modern, aqueous, fresh floral. I don’t adore it, but I certainly don’t think it is any way near as awful as Luca Turin makes out, and peculiarly, in small doses it works quite well on me as a work scent, particularly pre-reformulation, which had a very pleasing almondy subtext.

  10. Tania

    I used to have this one, but gave it to my mother. 🙂 Pretty, but just not my kind of thing. I wore Pleasures back in the day, but that was before my perfume tastes became so jaded by endless discoveries.

  11. MrsDalloway

    Interesting advert – la vie est plus belle – gave someone ideas?

  12. Champs Elysées is one of my favorite spring scents (I have the edt) and I love the almost malt-like feeling I get from the mimosa & lilacs. So beautiful!

  13. neveterna

    I love Champs Elysées (I have the edt and haven’t tried the edp though) and it is a perfect spring scent. Love how my nose perceive something malt-like from the mimosa & lilac blend. Beautiful scent!

  14. carole

    The ad brings back so many memories-I remember seeing the ad, waiting for it to come out (quaint idea, I know) and then being so utterly disappointed by it. Even if it is pretty ….to me it smells of bitter disappointment. Also I wanted to be Sophie Marceau, to be beautiful and on the Champs Elyess, so probably contributed to my antipathy to it. Years later a friend wore it, audit smelled good on her. Bath-Tastic, as the Scented Hound would say.

    Hope you’re feeling better, and are getting used to your new bad bionic self.

    • I am bionic in the wheelchair, that’s for sure. Geriatric when I practice walking, but at least I can!

      You can expect a very big, bad and bionic piece of writing about it all quite soon….

  15. Lilybelle

    I wore this back in the day, first the extrait, a gift, and then the edt. I liked it. Didn’t lurrrrrve it, but quite liked it and received compliments. It did smell very pink to me (not yellow) and I enjoyed the almond note. I suppose I am the boring, prim type, lol! And I’m perfectly ok with that. ♡♡♡

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