Le Male was evidently camp with its rippled torso and sailor paraphernalia. It was made by a French brand, for Pete's sake, fronted by a "crazy" looking guy always dressed in a matelot top! But it caught on spectacularly because of a very specific reason. It caught on first with the fashion congnoscenti and the tasteful homosexuals who were drawn to its campy imagery and gender bender advertising aesthetics. Truth be told gay men with fashion savvy often have an uncanny ability to focus on just what is right and works in the style stakes and predict trends. Evidently all strides of life favoured it commercially in the end. The advertisements and the scent were so tongue-in-cheek that you couldn't ridicule it no matter what one's orientation were; it had a healthy portion of self-sarcasm to carry it through.
Composition-wise the sweet lavender over coumarin-vanilla recalls a hint of classic fougère specimens, but the execution is nothing but. To better view this one can do a side by side experiment with a classic sweet lavender built on coumarin notes; Caron's Pour Un Homme. Whereas the Caron is a fist in a velvet glove Le Male is rubber band or nitrile gloves that slap shapely buttocks in jest.You can detect the modern musks which make this powerful. Or at least which used to make this powerful and very long lasting. I hear it doesn't last as long nowadays though my last personal testing is a couple of years old to be honest.
Now that fragrances for men have become increasingly sweet, Le Male continues to be popular with all ages of men (fathers and sons alike), but especially young ones who have rediscovered it. Quite a feat for something older than the age of its wearers!