PARIS — After 32 years, the Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche woman has finally met her match.
This story first appeared in the July 18, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
It comes in the guise of YSL’s Rive Gauche Pour Homme, the men’s scent due for a worldwide launch this October.
In some respects, the introduction marks a coming of age for the YSL men’s Rive Gauche fashion label, whose new boutique will debut in September on the Rue Saint Honore here.
“I think I’ve really clarified who the Rive Gauche man is,” said Tom Ford, Gucci Group creative director, which includes YSL Rive Gauche.
He added he’s long been a Rive Gauche enthusiast. “It’s a fragrance I always loved,” he explained. “It’s so iconic. What I love about it is how you use it — it’s made to be thrown in a handbag, it’s elegant, tall and slender — the juice is incredible.”
It’s a scent that’s withstood the test of time, added Chantal Roos, president and chief executive officer of YSL Beauté, the parent company of YSL Parfums. “The young generation is discovering it,” she said. “They love it.”
Like the original Rive Gauche scent, the new men’s fragrance comes in a portable metal canister. But rather than sporting the turquoise bands of the women’s flacon, they’re prune colored.
For the new scent’s juice, Firmenich perfumer Jacques Cavallier concocted a woody fougere. Its top notes include bergamot, star anise and rosemary; heart notes of lavender, geranium leaves and clove, and base notes of vetiver, patchouli and Gaiac wood.
“When I smell it, it brings back memories of fragrances of the Seventies,” said Ford. “Feugere had been absent for [decades].”
He added that a Seventies reference was also key since that was a prime time for the YSL brand.
There are retro elements in the advertising for the new Rive Gauche line, as well. The single-page print campaign, shot by Sølve Sundsbø under Ford’s creative direction, features a closeup of Ned Shatzer talking on an old-fashioned phone and holding a Rive Gauche Pour Homme fragrance. His hairy chest is reminiscent of the Seventies, said Ford.
The ads will run with a new single-page visual for the Rive Gauche women’s scent, which shows Karen Elson, also on the phone. It’ll break when the slightly tweaked women’s Rive Gauche fragrance — in terms of packaging graphics and olfactive components — comes out, along with an “Intense” version.
While executives refused to reveal numbers, industry sources suggest the new Rive Gauche Pour Homme could generate $8 million to $10 million at wholesale in the U.S. in its first 12 months.
The eau de toilette for men will come as 75- and 125-ml. sprays that will retail for $43 and $61.50 (38.50 euros and 55 euros), respectively in France, and $39 and $55 in the U.S. A 60-ml. rechargeable version of the Intense eau de toilette — whose juice includes a stronger patchouli note — will sell for $61.50 (55 euros), $55 in the U.S., and a 60-ml. refill, for $43 (38.50 euros), $39 in the U.S. There also will be a 200-ml. hair and body shampoo and a 150-ml. deodorant, each priced at $23.50 (21 euros). Only the shampoo will launch in the U.S., where it will be priced at $21.
Dollar prices for France have been converted from the euro at current exchange.