STORIES

“Rive Gauche” Fall 2014

BONNIE ROBBINS - MICHELE WATCHES

BONNIE ROBBINS - MICHELE WATCHES

“Rive Gauche”—which translates to “Left Bank” —is a style trend that has resurfaced over the years and holds a timeless place in every season. The inspiration for the trend comes from a neighborhood in Paris, France, next to the Seine River. The Left Bank inhabitants were historically eclectic, bohemian artisans that attracted some of the trends from the Right Bank, which had a more of a 5th Avenue, uptown-feel style. Yves St. Laurent first introduced the Rive Gauche aesthetic with his design of ready-to-wear masculine suits for women. In his own words: “Chanel freed women, and I empowered them.”
In my life I have literally experienced this aesthetic and currently live it today in the USA. I am rooted in the aesthetic of Rive Gauche with a modern twist. Coming from Detroit, I mentored many fine artists and eventually found myself becoming one. After art school I moved to New York and began my apprenticeship with Pace MacGill gallery and lived in an artist-run neighborhood called “DUMBO,” in an industrial area of Brooklyn located down beneath the Manhattan and Brooklyn overpasses. It was not uncommon there to peer out my window and see someone painting in the loft across the street or go to a studio party with new models and other personalities working their way into the art/fashion industry. And I loved a good party! New York was a place I was inspired to always look my best when I left the house. Immersed in this scene, how could I not find myself following some seasonal trends and of course taking trips to Paris to experience firsthand the old-world life of the artist? I recall staying at a friend’s house near Gare du Nord, which was a short jaunt from the Left Bank. The streets were lined with fashion boutiques, cafés and studios. I was in awe. I felt as if I had come home. It was here that I understood what the inspiration was behind all the things I was living back home in the USA. Photography was invented in France, and the creation of art was considered an important and legitimate job in Europe.  And of course the creation/collision of fashion in the bohemian neighborhood of Rive Gauche is what I had been embracing all those years.