I LOVED Rive Gauche in the mid-70's when I bought it as a solid perfume. The original scent was the BEST, and it was all I ever wore as a teenager and well into my 20s. The new reformulated scent is not even close to the original :( and I don't like it at all. BTW, does anyone know of any way I can get the old formulation?
When YSL himself was at the helm of his maison, some of the most famous and gorgeous fragrances of the 20th century were released: Y, Rive Gauche, Opium, Paris come to mind. Now that YSL's house operates under the aegis of Tom Ford, things are changing. Rive Gauche has been reformulated, for example. And not only that, but it is no longer being sold in dept stores in the American market. What??? Unbelievable. If it's not selling, maybe it's because nothing is being done to advertise it to a new generation of fragrance hounds? When was the last time you saw a magazine ad for Rive Gauche? I had also read on one of the fragrance blogs that Y has been put to the surgeon's knife for "updating." You can see that Tom Ford makes me a leeeetle nervous here. Is he ordering these changes himself? Or is he kowtowing to the advice of bean counters? If you know me, you know my opinion of bean counters. Whatever the case may be, the original Y and Rive Gauche are icons which should not be changed.
A gracious friend decanted a nice sample from her pre-'03 Rive Gauche for me. It was love at first sniff. It was cool, it was metallic, it was snowy, it was silvery, it was devastatingly chic and feminine. It was, in a word, magnificent. Fortunately, I was able to buy a bottle of the pre-'03 juice online, and none too soon. They're disappearing quickly. The drydown is worth waiting for; if you find the metallic opening a bit off-putting, don't worry. It dissipates shortly thereafter. I rarely receive compliments on whatever fragrance I wear (outside my family), but Rive Gauche is a scent which gets me compliments from complete strangers. It is a classic that deserves to be restored to its original beauty so the next generation can enjoy it in its fullness. Mr. Ford, I hope you or someone else from YSL will read this: Please. Bring back the original RG.
I wanted to like Rive Gauche, but I could not stand its smell on my Skin. It was very sharp and pungent on me.
If memory serves me, Rive Gauche was one of my first fragrances. My landlady belonged to a Beauty Club, and she gave me that month's shipment which contained Rive Gauche EDT, lotion, and soap. It was my first experience "layering" fragrance, and what an experience! RG is a deliciously intense scent of powder, florals and aldehydes that dry down to a sexy warm aura lasting all day. One of my all-time favorites - far too sophisticated for the 11 year old girl who was wearing it in the 1970s! But it would be a wonderful addition to my current fragrance wardrobe. Must...go...buy...some!!
When I frist tried Rive Gauche I thought it was similar to Calandre, which is a favorite of mine, but I had only sprayed the RG on my coat, not on my skin. When worn on the skin these two scents are not that similar (you were right Bairn). They diverge sharply after the first bright top notes leave and this has an animalic edge to it that Calandre doesn't have. Rive Gauche is at first a sharp floral with green bits attached. Once the majority of greens and citrus are shed a gardenia or tuberose note comes through. It is dense, heavy and creamy with murky florals where Calandre is lighter and sweeter and greener with clear florals. RG is femininity with an animalic musky touch. I don't usually employ the "old lady" tactic in descriptions, but Rive Gauche really does remind me of my Grandmother. If one were to lay their head on her shoulder in an embrace, this kind of floral powder would greet the nose. She was very old, very Victorian and the dearest woman in my life. I think I may wear this in the cooler months, because this particular musky base may not be so nice when heated.
While I have dozens of perfumes, this is probably the one that blends best with my skin chemistry. I didn't like it in the bottle, but I bought it anyway, thinking it would be fun to wear clubbing when I was feeling a bit crazy. The glittering can with blue and black stripes is so 70s/80s disco. The smell is like big hair, large diamonds, pointy toes and lots of blush. Because it is dated, there is an old lady aspect to it. But I found that once I put it on, while it seems to evoke a very "expensive" air, (as though I were high maintenance), it also blends and settles. It doesn't feel floral or green to me, except in the top notes. It stays on and on. My skin takes on a musky, powdery, sophisticated smell. When I actually am an old lady, I won't be wearing this, but right now, it's wonderful. It's much more of a fall winter scent. I only wear it at night in the summer.
I won't go into notes when it comes to my first love, Rive Gauche. Yes, it may be heavy on the aldehydes and yes, it may smell either of baby powder or of cat pee, depending on your chemistry – but to me, Rive Gauche is more than a smell in liquid form coming out of a glass (vintage EdT) or metallic container. Completely subjectively I will say that Rive Gauche is pure heaven. I was given a small EdT bottle in 1987 and it was instant love for me. Its scent speaks of something soft, kind, a gentle caress and dreamy eyes, but dreamy eyes with a mischievous twinkle. Blue is such an appropriate color for the packaging of this ethereal beauty. Rive Gauche can be both formal and intimate at the same time. If you've ever visited the left banks of Paris, inhaled the artistry and flirtatious ambiance mixed with the business-like attitude of a city of Paris' grandeur, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. I find it next to criminal that they've discontinued the pure parfum and the EdP. If you love Rive Gauche like I do, and you spot the body powder (very difficult, if at all possible) then grab it with both hands and don't let go, because you will never smell anything more divine.
RIVE GAUCHE in the vintage is what I'm lucky enough to srt out smelling.
A peach/bergamot/lemon takeoff quickly dissolves into a fragrant, powdery, ultra-feminine (and very strong, make no mistake about it) accord of magnolia, gardenia, freesia, ylang, rose and jasmin.
It is supported in the base by oakmoss, santal, a green aura, and plenty of the animal note that smells sexily like cat's urine. (Every perfume connoisseur knows that this kitty-pee note can be devastatingly sexy if mixed expertly, and here, it is.)
As other reviewers have stated, it does not leave simply one impression upon the woman who wears it; rather, it is a big, big Everywoman's perfume. It smells costly. The woman who wears this is announcing to her male companion that she doesn't come cheap.
I have suggested elsewhere on line that I suspected Revlon's CHARLIE was a cheap American knock-off to this disco-queen potion; others have disagreed with me here, however.
This began my foray into fragrance when I was 11 or 12. It belonged to my mum and I always loved the smell~ very grown up, and it always meant she was going somewhere very elegant and ladylike. I don't think I'd wear this now though. I have a bottle to sniff sometimes, but I don't actually put it on.
Although Rive Gauche contains adelhydes, it dries down to a fresh sexy finish that is not heavy, just clean and a little sophisticated. This is powdery at the beginning, but on me it does not stay that way and morphs into something much more wearable and most importantly, it is not cloying. There are days that I smell the cap of the bottle in the morning as I'm deciding what to wear and I think, it's too heavy! But everytime that I wear it, I am reminded that it's nowhere near that heavy or strong. The bottle is beautiful. I hope they never discontinue this. There's nothing like it. This opens up as a green fragrance to me and ends as a clean floral.