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Rive Gauche – Loulou de La Falaise, Yves St. Laurent and Parisian chic (November 14, 2011 New Fragrance Listing)

Photo-Wikipedia - Yves St. Laurent, Beverly Hills

It saddened me to read that Loulou de La Falaise had died. She was a one-of-a-kind who became designer Yves St. Laurent’s closest friend and muse. Her influence on fashion was huge and can be seen and felt to this day.

Born in 1948 to an Anglo-Irish model who modelled for Elsa Schiaparelli and a French aristocrat, Loulou, was a rebel, an eccentric and naturally chic. Legend has it that she was baptized with Schiaparelli’s famous perfume “Shocking” instead of holy water.

Her parents divorced when she was two, with her mother being declared an unfit parent, so she grew up in foster homes. Later, she attended boarding schools in England, Switzerland and New York, but her rebellious behavior got her expelled from all of them.

As a young woman, she was the embodiment of the Rive Gauche bohemian - independent, wild and free-spirited. She liked to mix vintage, ethnic and cheap chic with high fashion, like, wearing tunics with bandanas on her head. This was the woman Yves St. Laurent met in the late 60’s. They became fast friends fast, living a life of excess in an age of excess. It was also the meeting of two talented visionaries who together rocked the fashion world.

She became his muse, helping him build his prêt-a-porter business at his Rive Gauche boutique, inspiring his use of colour and materials and designs.

The left bank of Paris in the 70’s was the place to be and no perfume captures that time better than Rive Gauche by Yves St. Laurent. Originally introduced in 1970 it became the definition of a floral aldehyde.

For many years, it was my signature scent, back when I believed in signature scents. But times change, people change and perfumes change. Now, I wear the reformulated 2003 version and, dare I say it, I like it better. In my opinion, reformulation changed the scent, but hasn’t diminished it.

It opens with a great shot of cool, sharp aldehydes. As it moves to the heart, lush rose appears and softens the aldehydes. Musty geranium comes forward, bolstering the rose and amping up the floral aspect of the scent. The aldehydes and florals interweave beautifully, so beautifully that I could live here all day, but I don’t want to miss a thing. The aldehydes carry on right through to the aromatic woody base of vetiver, oakmoss, balsam wood, and musk.

It’s the cool, floral with a metallic tang that makes Rive Gauche a one-of-a-kind scent that speaks to the free-spirited, independent, chic woman. It’s a beautiful scent to wear anytime and the reformulation let’s you have a bit of that left bank 70’s hipness without being stuck in time.

After Yves St. Laurent retired in 2002, Loulou started her own label and opened La Maison de Loulou boutique in Paris.

Now, I don’t know if Rive Gauche was designed for Loulou de La Falaise especially, but it definitely could have been. Both have been imitated, but never equaled. Loulou, you will be missed.
Today, we’re adding Rive Gauche to our decant sample offering. Decants are $4.00