Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Rive Gauche


A funny thing happened the other day on the way to the fabric shop……well actually it happened in the fabric shop.

I’d a bit of time to kill (dead time, as I like to call it and those of you who are well versed in childrearing will understand completely this terminology) so instead of heading home to turn around and go back out again – I went to the fabric shop.

I went with an idea in my head that was relatively unformed as this stage – something was brewing but even I didn’t know what it was until it manifested itself onto the unsuspecting individuals who were queuing behind me to pay for their purchases.

Suddenly, and without preamble or warning, I turned 180 degrees, regarded the woman immediately behind me, and did some quick mental calculations based on crow’s feet and lip-puckers  that she was equal to or greater in age than me and blurted out,
“Do you remember Rive Gauche?”

Blank. Cat-in-headlights stare!

Rive Gauche – Paris Left Bank the home of the artistes and artists along the Seine?

I skipped the one behind her (too young) and aimed directly for the woman next in the line,
“Do YOU remember Rive Gauche? You know the perfume by YSL? About 1980?”

More blank stares and the slightly ‘be kind to her‘ facial expressions.

I then addressed both queues (needless to say the shop just happened to be busy that day) and the sales assistants too – well, actually loud enough for the entire shop to join in if they’d wanted to; I believe I may have climbed onto a soapbox at this point and exclaimed:

“Does anyone remember the YSL perfume Rive Gauche from 1980? Anyone?”

Apparently, Northern Ireland missed the 1980s – I was in London at the time. Living under Maggie Thatcher and living the high life. However, I did actually begin to doubt my own sanity and memory being overwhelmed with such a wall of ‘what-is-she-talking-about/negativity’ in the shop.

What I was really looking for was a second opinion on the colour/shade of blue for a jacket lining – I didn’t give a s**t if anyone truly remembered the perfume.

Regardless, (this is MY word and I predicate my life upon it) I bought what I believed to represent Rive Gauche and just had to Google it when I got home to make sure I hadn’t imagined the whole decade of 1980.

Coco – I need you now – please tell me you remember Rive Gauche! You don’t need to like it just, like me, you physically remember it.

If someone out there confirms that they bought/used/was gifted/remembers Rive Gauche, then I shall reveal the garment – otherwise I fear I am heading into Never-Never Land and if I go there I may be never heard of again……. Ahhhhhhhhhhh

Shoulder pads and hard stares – there’s no turning back!
I”d also appreciate a translation into English of the  adverts’ bylines.   Merci.

28 thoughts on “Rive Gauche

  1. I wasn't living in the UK when this was out, but I can tell you what the bylines mean. The one with the man in it is "Not a perfume for forgettable women" or you could maybe go for "self-effacing" or "shy/retiring" women for "effacee" I guess. The one with the lady with the phone is "The perfume of unpredictable women."

  2. I must admit that I am old enough to remember Rive Gauche. Le sigh. Looking at the box, I think the colors/stripes would look great made up as a sheath or a fit-an-flare dress! Hmmmmm…

  3. I remember Rive Gauche but wasn't lucky enough to have any (or remember what it smelt like). Those colours are just made for a colour blocked 60's shift dress.-Sewingelle

  4. I so remember Rive Gauche! It was my go-to perfume for a while. Lovely scent!

  5. Count me in. Unforgettable and unpredictable women unite!

  6. Of course I remember, but being a single mom of two, that certainly wasn't in my price range. Looking at it and being too lazy to look it up, I thought the word would mean for women when were impervious, and I like that definition better: "remaining unmoved and unaffected by other people's opinions, arguments, or suggestions"Love the color and think it would look fantastic on you! And I expect you might be a tad impervious. LOL

  7. Um, yes…from under the Minnesota snows, I experienced the 80s. Dayton's department store had an entire department dedicated to Rive Gauche. I can smell it now!

  8. Yes, yes… it was my sister's perfume and I did like it. It came to Australia so others must have seen it!

  9. I am so laughing…I had a mental picture of the package and recalled the fragrance before I even opened your post to read it. So yes, dear friend – I remember Rive Gauche!

  10. p.s. the perfume for unpredictable women…not a perfume for unassuming/shy women

  11. Count me in too. How could so many women not remember? There were even knock-offs!

  12. I remember Rive Gauche! Your experience in the fabric store sounds like a strange dream…I especially like the ad with the telephone – seems so old fashioned.

  13. I wore by the bucketfull! I do miss it. Perfect blue for a lining. I want that YSL scarf. . .Rock on,Coco

  14. yep me too I remember it, was my twin sister's favorite perfume – I was a Giorgio Beverly Hills fan at the time but actually did like it too. so I think you have enough comments to reveal now!

  15. I not only remember it, I had a bottle! And I am in Australia, in my teens during the 80s. That was a terrific perfume.

  16. Ruth….You clearly mixed in much more sophisticated company than I did in the '80s – round that time I was hanging out with a crowd that went down caves and potholes in Fermanagh for fun…. The blue looks lovely, but sadly the name is totally meaningless to me….. LOL

  17. I remember Rive Gauche, but I preferred Poison. (I don't wear any perfume now, my nose has been scarred by those knock you dead scents.)

  18. Hi there Ruth,Yes, hands up, I remember it too. Never personally purchased the perfume, but remember the adds very well.Perhaps you could do a slot on Hermes in the future…………I am a 24 Fabourg fan, and Ralph Lauren, Safari, so the oriental end of the perfume range. Hope you show us what you are doing at the moment and perhaps you could do something with Hermes type scarft print in the future?? Mind you, having said that I dont go much for patterns in my fabrics, but happily wear interesting scarves! I know you would come up with something amazing

  19. Hi Ruthand all lovers of Rive GaucheYes, it was NOT FOR THE SUBDUED, as I recall one advertisement. I loved everything about it including the distinctive blue, black and silver packaging.I've still got a bottle, purchased in the early 90s. Alas since then my allergies really play up with perfume so it has to be a very special moment to wear any perfume. I pay for it with a sneezing attack.Thanks for the memories, and also your sewing blog Ruth.JulNOT subdued and from Down Under

  20. 🙂 You crack me up! I do have to admit that I hadn't heard of Rive Gauche, but probably because my mother was allergic to perfumes so they were a no-no at home. But I must absolutely see what ever it is you've made in that gorgeous shade of blue with black and silver accents. Please, pretty please?

  21. I would have loved to have been in the shop to see all the blank faces – how funny! I remember it clearly, I never had any but I loved the packaging and it inspired an outfit I wore in the 80s – do you remember the cropped trousers/coloured tights look? Just that colour of blue they were – I thought I looked marvellous!

  22. The title took me right back, the colors and the smell!!! Wore it for years!

  23. Ohhh Ruth does it date me to say that I wore it the first time around and now back to it. My kids refer to it as Old ladies perfume (I am not old!!!). The blue is very distinctive and a very fashionable colour some years in the 80's. I had a POWER suit (thats in honour of the shoulder pads) that was shocking cobalt blue in the 80's so trendy!! So love the blog!!

  24. ooh yes I remember it and until recently had an empty bottle complete with box, part of a collection of perfume bottles that I sent to the charity shop when we moved house.linda

  25. Oh you obviously had the wrong people in that queue, we all remember it so well! Several friends used it but I was an Opium girl. Still am in winter. Next time you have question like that come and ask the right people.

  26. Oh you obviously had the wrong people in that queue, we all remember it so well! Several friends used it but I was an Opium girl. Still am in winter. Next time you have question like that come and ask the right people.

  27. That ad on the left is so familiar! You are bringing it all back!!

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