Rawan Kattoa, the Geneva-based Saudi stylist invites laid-back luxe into her curated life.
Turn the tide
Prior to making the big leap into fashion consulting, Saudi stylist Rawan Kattoa started her career in the corporate world. Though the Riyadh native’s roles tapped on talent acquisition, talent development, and youth impact projects when she moved to Jeddah in 2016, it didn’t take long for her to realize that she was destined for something else. “Change has its fair share of resistance. However, in my case, I was grateful to discover my passion at an early age,” Kattoa says. Currently residing in Geneva, she’s certified in editorial and personal styling from the University of the Arts London. Her taste for fashion stems from happy memories of watching her mother carefully piece together outfits, while looking up from her little chair at the age of 10. “She combined her items in a way I admired, and eventually it became my daily after-school activity to create my own style,” she adds. Growing up, Kattoa mapped out an itinerary of boutiques to visit while on family trips and subscribed to fashion magazines under her father’s name in order to have them delivered from the UK to her address in Riyadh.
As an entrepreneur, Kattoa balances a schedule that finds her bouncing between meetings and studying French. “What I like about Geneva is that it’s so laid-back, yet it’s central, and you can travel every now and then,” she shares. Sundays, she can be found strolling in Vieille Ville, the charming Old Town, which is filled with cobblestone paths, quaint cafes, museums, and galleries. “One of my favorite spots is the chic Hôtel Longemalle. It’s one of my go-to places in Geneva to rest and dine. It has an artistic atmosphere and their Balila Lebanese restaurant is my favorite, too,” she says. However, when she’s back in Jeddah it’s all about spending time with family. “I love the heritage area Al-Balad and every weekend we dine at a local restaurant called The Social Kitchen; the food is great and it’s nestled between historical buildings.”
While Kattoa knows a thing or two about hidden gems and fine dining in Geneva, she’s no stranger in the kitchen. “During lockdown we managed to discover cooking, especially since my family are all great cooks,” she says. Her favorite dish? A dinner- party treat: glazed salmon in a caramelized sauce. “My husband has a special prawn pasta that, to me, is the equivalent to dining in an authentic Italian restaurant,” she says. “He does talk about his ability to cook the best Kabsa, but I am yet to discover that,” she adds with a laugh.
In the age of streaming workouts, Kattoa blasts through power drills from her living room. “God bless technology that enables us to connect with people,” she says. “Currently, I do my exercises virtually with my favorite sports addict, Rawan Zahran,” says Kattoa about toning on her own time. “It does feel a bit different to work out at home, but I guess as much as we face change, we adapt quickly. It’s amazing how this is now the new normal.” To bring down her heart rate, she turns to her best-loved tracks. “After working out, I listen to my favorite Arabic songs,” she shares. “In the mornings, I like to listen to soft, classical music, as it helps me sooth into the day. My best playlist is during road trips, which has its own share of mixed Arabic and English tunes, or as I like to call them – happy tunes.”
An ode to neutrals
Kattoa’s wardrobe of tailored coats, fluid dresses, and crisp shirting in an earthy palette makes a strong case for neutral layering. A collection of staples such as an accordion trench coat by Sandro, a cream blazer featuring a cable-knit sweater wrap from Mayka, and sharp shirts rendered with shoulder pads by The Attico are just a few pieces in her understated yet luxurious closet. However, her approach to styling comes punctuated with eye-catching statement pieces and accessories. “I’m obsessed with earrings, big necklaces, bold headpieces, and shoes if I’m wearing a classic outfit,” Kattoa says. This is evident with a blush pink Rosantica feather bag that adds just the right touch of whimsy to her looks, as well as her beaded Oscar de la Renta earrings, Simone Roche headband, and Paris Texas snake boots.
Classic meets modern
Aesthetically driven, Kattoa curates her living space based on the city of her residence. Her new home in Geneva is idyllically Parisian-inspired and features art pieces to help build on the ambience of the house. In Dubai, modern furniture exudes sleek sophistication. Meanwhile, her Jeddah home seamlessly incorporates a juxtaposition of contemporary and classic characteristics. “My mother and sister are both interior designers, and my in-laws are also interior and architectural designers. It’s truly a blessing to be surrounded by people with great taste from both sides of my family.”
Originally published in the January 2021 issue of Vogue Arabia