Mona Kattan’s love for perfume is part of her heritage
Each fragrance evokes an emotion. In Scent Stories, TZR asks tastemakers, celebrities and industry insiders to share the stories behind scents from their past and present.
For Mona Kattan, the art of arranging perfumes is just that. Like painting a portrait, she experiments with layered, contrasting, complementary notes, all to evoke a specific feeling – each fragrance she wears or creates should be distinctly evocative, telling a full story from the first burst of top notes through to the base scents that anchor them. In many ways, Kattan’s own best-selling fragrance line, Kayali Fragrances, is a birthright. “Every Kayali juice I create has a connection to my heritage,” Kattan tells TZR from his home in the heart of Dubai’s glittering Palm Island.
Indeed, every aspect of its hugely popular range – from the stackable fragrances themselves to the sparkling jewel stopper on each bottle is a tribute to the rich and vibrant culture of the Middle East. Even the fact that Kattan regularly collaborates with her sister, beauty industry titan Huda Kattan, speaks to this united cultural foundation. Naturally, their combined abilities have produced some of the most influential beauty moments (and products) of recent years.
Kattan women create from a place of true passion. Nearly three million followers know firsthand just how extensive Kattan’s personal fragrance library is. Between cute selfies with her new hubby and glamorous “fitness checks,” Kattan produces a lot of content on the huge showcases of assorted perfumes, oils and fragrances she’s been collecting since she was 14. When she moved to Dubai, the interest turned into an obsession in its own right. “I was discovering so many rituals around layering and different notes, and that’s when I really understood that perfume isn’t just a perfume, it’s so much more,” says Kattan. . “From there, I said to myself that if I ever had the opportunity to embark on something on my own and completely out of passion, it would be a perfume brand.”
With the release of his Kayali brand’s latest fragrance, Lovefest Burning Cherry 48, Kattan is settling even deeper into his role as the authority on fragrances for an entire generation.
Ahead, get to know Mona Kattan through the fragrances that helped shape her passion.
The scent of freedom
“During lockdown, I just had this urge to escape – a place, physical or not, where people can come together and feel free. Our latest baby Kayali, Lovefest Burning Cherry 48, instantly took me into a beautiful and seductive escape. It reminds me of a big party or festival. I chose to focus on the cherry note as the main ingredient, but I wanted to add a twist and make it more smoky, woody and captivating. For me , the burning scent means letting go and releasing. The addition of palo santo and guaiac wood made it the euphoric scent I was craving. Sensual and captivating, this scent is a celebration of love, hope and freedom. If Burning Cherry were a person, that person would be a free-spirited person who lives and loves without fear.
The perfume(s) of passion
“When I create perfumes, I am inspired by things that I have loved throughout my life. I want to create a mood, so I ask myself ‘what smell made me feel that?’ [and] I come back to this memory and I go from there. Everything stems from memories of emotions, which is so important when it comes to fragrances. This has both advantages and disadvantages, as my perception of how something smells and how it makes me feel can be vastly different from someone else’s. Perfume is the most subjective product because it is based on our memories. It’s very complicated, but that’s what makes it so magical. I have always been passionate about perfumes and I have a sensitive nose, just like all my family.
The scent of love
“Love can take many forms, so it’s a tough question. If I had to pick one note, it would be musk. From Kayali, it would be our Musk 12 juice. There’s also something so beautifully romantic about Armani Privé Malachite Green. If you want some real love, layer these two and you have a winner. I also love layering our Musk 12 juice with Vanilla 28 on a date – so sweet and sultry. J I have a very important project in preparation for Kayali which will be released next year exactly love in a bottle.
The scent of the family
“My love for perfume actually grew from my mother. My very first memory of perfume was when I was a child and my mother wore an unbranded jasmine perfume. It wasn’t a particular brand. was just in a bottle without a label, but it was just a beautiful natural scent of jasmine. That’s where my love for jasmine started, and it was an inspiration for Kayali’s Deja Vu White Flower 57. I connects this scent to my childhood and my entire family.It was my inspiration behind this scent and every time I spray it I feel transported to so many memories.
The scent of success
“Success smells like patchouli to me. It’s such a strong and sexy note. I really like chypre scents and those notes of bergamot, patchouli, flowers, oak moss, animals. I feel like a successful person, whether male or female, fits that chypre profile. From my collection, that would be our very own Kayali Elixir 11. It’s not a chypre, but it has lots of patchouli and notes Elixir smells so powerful to me and makes me feel like I can accomplish anything.Another classic chypre scent would be Coco Chanel Mademoiselle, which smells of pure elegance.
The scent of power
“It really depends on the day and the mood I’m in, which is why the scent is so special! Just one spray can transform my energy and make me feel fresh and empowered. I should also choose Kayali Elixir 11 for this one. It’s really bold, sexy and powerful, and it makes me feel the same. I would suggest layering it with Tom Ford Tuscan Leather to go even further. You will be amazed at how well these two scents blend together and what a powerful scent they produce.
The scent of heritage
“Since it’s so ingrained in my culture and background, I would say oud, and generally layering flavors as a practice. It immediately reminds Hind Al Oud Sheikh A. It literally smacks of Arab royalty. It is a deep and addictive fragrance with a blend of spicy notes and a deep scent of agarwood. I also love Oud Ispahan by Christian Dior – this scent is incredibly delicious and long lasting. Whenever I smell Oud Ispahan, I immediately think of a princess or a prince. I love layering them, as does my husband, Hassan.
Every Kayali juice I create has a connection to my heritage. Beyond the fragrances themselves, each Kayali scent is designed for layering and has a strong foundation in Middle Eastern culture and heritage. The bottles are also inspired by many Middle Eastern perfumes I saw when I moved here – the jewel and diamond shaped design makes the wearer of the perfume feel so special and regal.
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