“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 and hilariously gauche late 70’s TV ad for this perfume 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…..”
Which is funny, because I always in fact associated this legendary smell, this legendary perfume, 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.
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, musked human heart.
Though I possibly prefer Calandre myself, with its melancholic, arched gaze, it can sometimes seem as if its tender green heart has 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.