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.