“There she goes, the independent woman.
The girl who’s so contemporary – she’s having too much fun to marry”
…….“Nothing like the past”
proclaims a soap opera husk, concluding this clunky late 70’s TV ad as a blowsy discolette sprays her legs up and down with Yves Saint Laurent’s Rive Gauche:
“the right perfume from the left bank of Paris.”
Funny, because I always associated this legendary smell with tights – that musky smell of stockings coming off at the end of the working day; the holy grail, perhaps, of a (not so) secret foot fetishist like Quentin Tarantino.
Not that there’s anything remotely unsavoury about Rive Gauche: quite the opposite – it is beautiful and delectably charismatic. But its flirtatious, polished exterior conceals a very animal sexuality deep down in the mix; a mossy, ambery musk that proclaims – unambiguously – real, flesh and blood woman
(something that is emphatically not the case with many of the fragrances – pinky, cheapo masking agents – that are to found in the modern day department store).
Often compared to the strikingly similar Calandre – which preceded it by two years – and sometimes described as ‘a sculptured perfume’ – aluminium-cool; white contoured – the silvery finesse of Rive Gauche comes from a metallic, green/floral aldehyde opening, iris/jasmine; bergamot, peach, and a rosy, sandalwood, musky human heart.
Though I possibly prefer Calandre myself, with its melancholic, arched gaze, it can sometimes seem as if its tender green heart might have gone cold. Rive Gauche is alive, knowing, and devastatingly attractive. The current version, as you will expect, has been tampered with (‘reorchestrated’), has less of the frank animal sexuality of the original, but is still a monument.