Fragrance Wardrobe: Mona Kattan Tell Us the Secret Reason She Always Layers Her Perfumes

Mona Kattan

Your perfume isn’t just how you smell—it’s how you feel when you get dressed in the morning, for a night out, for a boardroom meeting. It's just as much of an accessory to how you present yourself to the world as your clothing (and let's not forget its close ties to memory and emotion). With that in mind, we’ve launched Fragrance Wardrobe, a scent series in collaboration with The Fragrance Foundation that highlights the rotating perfume “wardrobes” of our favorite tastemakers through key points in their life. Get to know them better via the scents they choose to wear.

The Kattan sisters' beauty influence is undeniable—behemoth, really. Their company is valued at over a billion, their reach on Instagram is over 50 million, and their products have reached cult status. Huda, the middle child, often gets the most recognition as the face (and name) of the brand, but the youngest sister, Mona, has been called the heart and brains—and fragrance has always been her deepest passion. In 2018, she spearheaded the launch of their first fragrance brand, KAYALI—Arabic for “my imagination.” Collection 01 featured just four scents—Vanilla, Citrus, Musk and Elixir—that were meant to introduce the Middle Eastern practice of fragrance layering to the U.S. “The confidence that Huda feels through beauty, I feel through fragrance,” the soft-spoken youngest Kattan sister was once quoted saying. With that in mind, we asked Mona to share her Fragrance Wardrobe through the years—from the scent that she’ll associate with her mom to the fragrance that inspired her to first start layering. Keep scrolling to get to know Mona Kattan.

The fragrance you remember most as a child:

"Definitely the smell of jasmine! My mom always wore jasmine perfume when I was growing up; it wasn’t a specific brand or anything fancy, but every time I smell jasmine I think of my mom. My love for jasmine really grew from the nostalgia I feel when I smell it and the memories of growing up as a little girl in the U.S. I hold the jasmine note and the white flower fragrance family so close to my heart because of the connection it has to my childhood and my relationship with my mom."

The first fragrance you bought for your fragrance wardrobe:

"It was actually both Curve by Liz Claiborne and O Oui by Lancôme! I bought them at the same time when I was 14 after I got my first paycheck at my first job. I don’t necessarily wear these two fragrances today, but I wore both in high school and was so proud of my first fragrance purchases at the time! It’s funny thinking about it now because the fragrance industry was so different back then. There was a lot less variety, especially if you were from a small town in the states like I was. Every time I smell these fragrances, it takes me back."

The fragrance you wore when you fell in love:

"When I read this question my mind immediately went to puppy love, which I experienced for the first time in college. He bought me Escada Magnetism when we were dating so that always reminds me of the puppy love feeling I had when we were together. Before he bought it for me though, I was obsessed with YSL Cinema and wore it every day. At the time, I felt I had to wear the Escada Magnetism because he bought it for me, so I got creative and started layering the two—a fragrance practice that I adore nowadays."

The fragrance in your carry-on:

"There are definitely more than one! No matter what, though, I always have the mini set of our KAYALI Collection 01. They are the cutest little 10ml bottles that are perfect for travel and make it easy for me to layer with whatever perfume I bring along with me during my travels. Along with the minis, I typically carry around 10 different lab samples that I’m working on to test and discover new juices. Testing them in different environments and situations around the world brings a lot of excitement and emotion to the developing process. Traveling with them also allows me to do some firsthand research and gather thoughts from people in various markets!"

Your "goes with everything" fragrance:

"This is easy—it’s KAYALI Vanilla 28. It’s to fragrance as whipped cream is to dessert. It’s delicious and addictive and it honestly makes every perfume I layer it with a little sweeter! I’m hooked on it."

Your power-suit fragrance:

"Easily Twilly from Hermes. It’s beautiful, yet sexy and it makes me feel serious and powerful in a super feminine and modern way. I love it—it’s so beautiful and you definitely have to try it if you haven’t."

Your slinky/sexy slip dress fragrance:

"I’d have to say our newest KAYALI Déjà Vu White Flower 57 because it’s such a romantic juice and when I think about a sexy slip dress, my mind immediately goes to romance. The new perfume is named Déjà Vu and the campaign is about romance for a reason! The various notes in the juice take me back to all of the romantic relationships I’ve had in my life, what I’ve experienced during them and, most importantly, what I’ve learned."

Your leather jacket fragrance:

"I’d have to say our KAYALI Elixir 11 because I find it to be very bold and strong, and it makes a statement in the same way that I feel a woman makes when she’s wearing a leather jacket. It’s bold and badass, yet feminine and rich. To take it even further, I’d really suggest mixing it with a leather fragrance, like Tom Ford Tuscan Leather to bring the leather notes of the jacket forward. I think you’d be surprised how well these two fragrances mix and what a statement they make."

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