Walimah is one of several brand-new, upcoming fragrances from Areej Le Doré and is intended to be a celebration of love and marriage. It was created by Russian Adam in tribute to “the beautiful union of two souls from different corners of the globe” and their wedding late last year, so it’s quite symbolic that the fragrance’s two versions — a parfum and an attar — act as yin and yang. Although they have the same notes and formula, they are surprisingly different on my skin: the spray is feminine, ethereally bridal and, later, sensuously creamy); the attar casts dark, masculine shadows upon its luminous, radiant, white florals, sometimes shrouding them almost entirely. The attar is not only more complex but it is also a shape-shifter. In addition, it is unisex-to-masculine in its character, veering between co-equal unisex elements and an elegantly rugged masculinity that has an occasional animalic growl. I’ve been told that the spray version will eventually age into something closer in scent and character to the attar but, even as they are right now, both versions are striking in their own way.
“Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?” Do you want to sleep with me tonight? It’s a question that Labelle made famous in the 1970s, and I merely have to hear the words for the famous “Lady Marmalade” classic to start ringing in my head. As the Music Times article linked there explains, the song was inspired by the experiences of songwriter, Bob Crewe, in the red-light district of New Orleans “and the aggressive stance of prostitutes in the area.” His lyrics growled their demand through a mix of disco, R&B, and funk, and the latent sexuality at their heart was rendered overtly raunchy in subsequent musical covers.
Voulez-Vous Coucher Avec Moi, the fragrance, is nothing like the world of Lady Marmalade, and the sheer enormity of the chasm between them made me laugh each time I wore it. Put aside all thoughts of lust, skanky raunch, and ripe, fleshy seduction. Envision instead bridal femininity, floral sweetness, and a fresh, dewy delicacy that practically verges on the innocent.
Yes, I think Kilian’s version of Voulez-Vous Coucher Avec Moi is that much of an olfactory departure from everything implied by its name. But it’s a very lovely scent nonetheless. If it does seduce you, it’s through the refinement of a bridal bouquet where fresh white flowers are laced with greenness, then veiled with the silkiest vanilla cream. So rather than asking you to sleep with it in New Orleans’ red-light district or the Moulin Rouge, I think the real question that Voulez-Vous poses is whether you’ll marry it.