Today I’m Wearing: Vintage Rive Gauche by Yves Saint Laurent

Who: Jeanne Doré, chief editor of Nez, the excellent French Magazine about olfaction and perfume, now translated into English (for the two lasts issues). Jeanne and her partner Dominique Brunel, founded the website in 2007, publishing perfume reviews. Wanting to go beyond fragrance to create a media anchor for olfactive culture, they launched Nez in 2016, in partnership with Le Contrepoint editons and its founder Mathieu Chevara.

We caught up with the visually shy Ms Doré on her recent trip to London, where she was launching Nez at Jovoy fragrance store, Mayfair and in Caravanserail, Brick Lane.

Today I am wearing Rive Gauche by Yves Saint Laurent
, vintage version. I found this old “splash” bottle in a flea market, it must come from some time in the eighties, it’s very well preserved and of course slightly different from the version sold today, with different musks, different woods, probably oak moss…which give it a special and unique sillage and identity.

Rive Gauche is one of the great aldehydic florals from the seventies and the second fragrance launched by Yves Saint Laurent, in 1971. There is this cold, sharp and opalescent whiteness coming from the aldehydes, with something very preppy that evokes the Paris Left Bank, the spirit of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and a sophisticated lady who would wear a mid length skirt, a silk scarf around her neck and impeccably styled hair.

But there is also this rich and classical floral bouquet with rose, jasmine, orris, which is more generous and warm. And then there’s a woody, powdery base, with a beautiful vetiver note, which gives it a much more androgynous, even ambiguous aspect.

It may sound a bit cliché but wearing Rive Gauche seems to give me, like, a “super power”, I always feel stronger and more confident when I wear it. That’s why I chose this one to come to London!

Fragrance is central, everything I do all day has more or less to do with fragrance! I smell fragrances  everyday, particularly all the new launches that I receive at my office. But on the other hand, I don’t wear fragrance often. I mean, most of the time I’ll wear them in order to try them.

For some occasions, of course, I’ll wear fragrance, for evenings, or during the week end. Contrary to a lot of people I work with, I am not such a compulsive addict of fragrances, I like them, but I am almost more interested in what can be said about them, than just wearing them! Therefore, I can keep a bottle quite a long time, because I have several that I regularly wear.

Outside Rive Gauche, the ones I wear most often are classics like Mitsouko, L’Heure Bleue, Habanita, Chanel N°19, Eau Sauvage, Ombre Rose. I usually spray two “spritz” to my neck, each side, not too much actually.

My first fragrance memories are of course, my mum’s fragrance.  She has worn Miss Dior (original) for a long time, so it is my first fragrance memory and probably also the reason why I like chypres and vintage fragrances.

For my house I have an essential oil “diffuser”, my favorite oils at the moment are bergamot, lemon, petit grain, vetiver and benjoin. I make some mixes, of course, always random, so always different!

I love the smell of the line six of the Paris metro, it smells like burnt rubber, it’s very special. I think it’s because it is associated with the memory of my first summer job in Paris when I was a student, living in the suburb. The smell of freedom and of becoming a grown up person maybe?

Also, for a long time, I used to have a French-English Harraps dictionary in my office drawer, that I would smell compulsively, because I loved its phenolic smell, a weird mix of disinfectant and ink. That was before the era of online dictionaries! But I still have it somewhere.

And I do like the smell of hospitals… but maybe because my mother used to be a nurse.

More on Auparfum here,

More on Nez here