Monday, April 14, 2008

Yves Saint-Laurent Rive Gauche

If you love the very mossy Hermes Caleche (1961), you might also love Yves Saint-Laurent Rive Gauche (1971), except Rive Gauche smells less bitter, less dirty (pungently woody in the base) and less harshly astringent--to me, just nicer overall. However, it's still a mossy scent, no denying it. People say it smells frosty, and it certainly is powdery being Aldehydic Floral, typical of perfumes of its time, but the featured note is the kind of in-your-face blast of oakmoss you'll find in Paco Rabanne Calandre--in fact, it's made by the same nose (Michael Hy with Jacques Polge). To me, it smells more like a damp leafy forest after the rain rather than a snowy or icy landscape. What's in a name? Wikipedia entry reads: "In 1966 Yves Saint-Laurent launched a ready-to-wear line by the name Rive Gauche. The collection was an attempt to democratize fashion, introducing elements of garments of the lower classes into high fashion." Of course, stealing ideas from others who are creative in the ways they dress, and mocking a certain class of people while capitalizing on their ideas isn't gauche at all. Ya gotta love fashion. I love this bottle design, though.

The vintage version smells much softer and more floral for lack of a better description. The new version smells much punchier, a bit insensitive in feeling and lacking evolution, typical of newly reformulated and modernized creations. It's still a nice scent, but as someone who loved Rive Gauche for many years has told me, the new one is just a shadow of what it used to be.

(Yves Saint-Laurent 1993 & 1989 ads, )