A genius poet, master pastry chef, and scarf-designing superstar—yah, we’re talking about one person. Born in Dubai, Rawaan Alkhatib spent her early days surrounded by peacocks and gazelles. “This definitely contributed to my animal obsession, which you can find in my writing and design,” she says. In 2002, she headed to Brown University, eventually landing in an MFA program in Iowa. “It’s the only place where you can be at a bar and a stranger says, ‘So are you a poet or what?’—and you can say yes and own it,” she recalls.
In 2011, Rawaan found herself in New York with a fancy degree and, while poking around for jobs, started making scarves. In 2012, this side project went official (oh, and she landed a 9-to-5 at a luxury flash-sale site, too).
Scarves appeal to her for two reasons: She wears them a lot and comes from a culture of headscarves. “Silk is so magical—it keeps you warm when you’re cold and cool when you’re warm. It has a history of being used in luxury items, but it’s functional,” explains the designer, who hopes to add bags, clothing, and stationery to the mix down the road. “I have no real artistic training—merely boundless enthusiasm,” she says. “But this feels the most right of all the harebrained schemes I’ve had.” —alisha prakash
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Louisa’s Hat-Making Bestie
Her pal Laela has been helping out since day one.
When Louisa Parris needed hats for her graduate collection as a student at Central Saint Martins, she turned to Laela Barnard, a friend who’s been by her side since childhood. And when she decided to launch a collection of high-minded scarves and hats to accompany her gala-worthy gowns—well, no surprise here: Laela was her go-to girl. “It’s like history repeating itself—her parents were designers, and they were working in Dubai with my mom and dad. And now we’re collaborating,” Louisa explains. “We get along like sisters.” Here, a look at their relationship through the years—because there are few things we love more than grade-school pictures.
“Here we are putting on a show in the garden in Bath, England. Not sure why I’m tap-dancing while Laela is in full wedding outfit with jelly shoes!”
“I spent many wonderful summer holidays out in France with her. Here, we’re sitting on the hood of Laela’s dad’s lovely old Citroen.”
“This is one of the first hats Laela did—for my collection at Central Saint Martins. It’s made from black crinoline and edged in satin bias binding.”
“This is my favorite hat Laela did for my most recent collection—the Windsor Pillbox Hat. I only sent her one sketch, and then she created the most beautiful work. I’m very lucky to work with such a talented, wonderfully close friend.”