Yves Saint Laurent’s Rive Gauche – Life on the Left Bank
Consider me behind the times, but I’ve very recently fallen head-over-heels in love with Yves Saint Laurent’s Rive Gauche. Yes, I know it was launched way back in 1971, long before I was in short trousers, and yes, I’m well aware that its current formulation is a pale shadow of its former self, but I love it and I make no apologies. To me, Rive Gauche does the whole aldehydic floral thing in a way that is not over the top, nor is it viciously boardroom bitch-esque – its simply high fashion floralcy in a bottle.
Seeing as I’ve got a bit excited over my new found love, and I’ve also been taking an informal look at some of the classics over on Escentual recently (see Opium & Arpège), I took the time to dedicate my column this week to the glory of Rive Gauche. So, if you’re a fan of the scent, or if you just want to hear what all of the fuss is about (I do like a bit of hyperbole, it must be said), then simply click here to take a stroll down Paris’ wonderful left bank.
My last two Escentual posts have been a contrasting look at the old and the new, in the world of perfume. Firstly, I took a look at Calvin Klein’s Reveal a few weeks back. This is the most surprising and unexpected feminine from CK, that channels Thierry Mugler’s wonderful Womanity, of all things. Just when you think there are no surprises left to be had in the perfume industry, one jumps up and taps you on the nose! Click here to read my review.
Now we move on to the ‘old’. Following the disaster that is Black Opium, I wanted to revisit the flanker’s mother fragrance, Opium. Granted, the new formulation of Opium is reportedly a pale shadow of its former self, but the fragrance should still be celebrated for being a trailblazer that created the trend for big and bold oriental-themed fragrances that permeated the ’80s. Check out my thoughts on Opiumhere.
Movember Masculines Part 2 – Kouros by Yves Saint Laurent
When picking the four scents for my ‘Movember Masculines’ series at Escentual, I knew that I simply had to include something from Yves Saint Laurent. This house, which is a shadow of its former glory for sure, is responsible for three of the most exceptional masculine fragrances out there – Kouros, M7 and Rive Gauche Pour Homme – and when it came to choosing the most iconic of this impressive bunch, Monsieur Kouros was difficult to ignore.
So this week I’ve taken a look at one of the most distinct, unique and divisive masculine scents one can buy. To add to that, Kouros is also one of the most unashamedly manly, conjuring up images of overly-tanned and smooth-chested lotharios who are as exuberant as they are audacious. Kouros is the king of the ’80s, and whilst he may seem a little bit dated now, he still reigns supreme.
My lovely perfume sisters and brothers – Persolaise, Eyeliner on a Cat, Fragrant Moments and Olfactoria’s Travels – and I, have yet again clubbed together to bring you an olfactory group project. This time we’re focusing on the seven deadly sins and have cooked up our very best selections of the most sinful perfumes.
“A feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of one’s close associates, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.”
The Oxford English Dictionary’s
Definition of ‘Pride’
When given the choice of picking a sin for my article I opted for ‘Pride’. The sin of pride focuses on self-adoration and vanity – taking pleasure and satisfaction from our own achievements, looks and attractive qualities. Pride intrigues me because I think it’s the sin that nearly everybody is guilty of at some time in their lives and it can be a key driver for us to continue to succeed in our professional and personal lives.
The perfumes I have picked for this article all display an element of pride – each in a slight different way. Whether it’s vanity, pride in artistry, the pride that precedes a fall or even a faceless pride, these perfumes are subtly sinful in a subversive and utterly compelling way
Jessica Chastain looks good in EVERYTHING, even purple paint…
The stand-alone feminine fragrance is the bread and butter of the designer fragrance world. I personally find it fascinating to see what the big three houses (Chanel, Dior and YSL) will do with their next feminine pillar, as with each release one sees the change in times and tastes, and it seems that change is definitely afoot at YSL. Having recently, under the direction of Hedi Slimane, dropped the “Yves” to become simply “Saint Laurent Paris” the fashion side of the brand looks to move in a new direction and the fragrances may just follow suit.
When I think of YSL (the perfumes will still be marketed under the old name) I think of bold, fearless perfumes such as Opium, Rive Gauche, Paris and Kouros. Yes these fragrances embody the styles of their respective eras but they’ve always seemed, to me at least, to capture the spirit of Yves Saint Laurent the man and the renegade designer perfectly. Recent efforts by the brand however, have failed to live up to the legacy of the classics.
Manifesto, created by perfumes Flipo and Doc Long, is YSL’s first major feminine release since Parisienne in 2009 and whilst that wasn’t exactly a tough act to follow it feels like the pressure is on for YSL to bring out something new and daring. Well, it appears that YSL have sensed this pressure, describing Manifesto as “an attitude, a burst of laughter, a tone of voice, a presence”  and “the manifesto of femininity” . Is it really as daring as it seems?
The Scent a Celebrity Series is my vain attempt at picking perfumes for those who don’t know any better, yes I mean celebrities. Let’s face it, most celebrities are incapable of choosing decent clothing/boyfriends/girlfriends/movies/insert-celebrity-mistake-here let alone having the ability to make decisions about something as important as their scent – that’s where I come in. Never fear my dear schlebs, I will ensure that you are appropriately scented, all you need to do is listen.
So far the series has touched upon a variety of famous names including; those fuzzy-wuzzy comics The Muppets, the Icelandic super-talent that is Björk, schizophrenic female (but kinda-male due to her alter ego) rapper Nicki Minaj, the maniacal monarchs that make up the Royal Family and super-glam pop tour de force Scissor Sisters. Joining this patchwork quilt of celebrities is everyone’s favourite dysfunctional TV family, The Simpsons.
I am a die-hard The Simpsons Fan and I confess to having seen nearly every single episode at least twice. The colourful inhabitants of Springfield, or predominately-yellow inhabitants should I say, each provide a large dash of humour to a town that you wouldn’t really want to live in but are quite happy to watch from the comfort and relative safety of your own sofa.
Last week’s Saturday Poll focused on the age-old debate of natural vs synthetic perfumery. I find this to be a really interesting topic because opinions really vary and people can have very strong feelings about what goes into their perfumes.
The results of the poll were quite interesting; as I would have expected the majority (56%) voted for a mixture of natural and synthetic ingredients with 35% saying that they weren’t fussed either way. What I found most fascinating about the results was that a very small number of people opted for either solely natural (7%) or solely synthetic (2%) ingredients, which goes to show that a mixture is favoured.
On to this week’s poll….
A couple of polls ago I pitched the two perfume-behemoths that are Guerlain and Chanel against each other and I thought it would be good fun to do this again but with two different houses.
Sticking with the designer theme, I would like to know which you prefer; Dior or Yves Saint Laurent? Both have their fair share of classics and their fair share of duds, but which one floats your boat?
So c’mon, who do you prefer? I want to know! Register your vote and let me know your thoughts in the comments box below!