Diva by Design

 Trina Gibbins Photography
Trina Gibbins Photography

“I want to see and feel the world firsthand, to be inspired, uplifted and creatively fulfilled,” says Kathleen Ryan. It is a philosophy that aptly captures the designer’s approach to work and life. From the posh halls of the Union Club, to exquisitely appointed residences in Gstaad, Paris, or NYC, Ryan has done it all. A graduate of the prestigious New York School of Interior Design, with degrees in Journalism and Art History, the multi-talented design maven has worked with a number of acclaimed design companies in New York before joining Ychelle, a boutique firm focusing on high-end, unique residential interior design and architecture. As Ychelle’s chief design guru, Ryan takes her classical, globally-informed style to work magic on exclusive residences, both locally and around the world, using her international savoir-faire to forge relationships with talented artisans and ateliers across Europe and North America and create one-of-a-kind pieces for bespoke living. With her appreciation for old-world beauty, cultural experiences, and a touch of exotic mystique, Ryan’s multifaceted style is as colourful as the vivid destinations that inspire her. 

Kathleen Ryan’s FAVOuRITETHINGS: 



Ryan’s penchant for glamorous refinement is in the details. She favours classical couture, stunning in an off-the-shoulder gown by Alexander McQueen and Azzedine Alaia laser-cut stilettos, and the natural motifs of Patricia Kluge jewellery. Tom Ford’s “sublime” Summer Soleil line is her must-have beauty fix, along with a comforting splash of subtly-scented Escentric Molecule 01. Necessities are stashed in simple but feminine satchels — a sleek Cartier Panther Backpack for work, and a casual T. Anthony canvas duffle on the road. She has a taste for decadent white truffles, well-aged Bordeaux, and Jeff de Bruges pralines, and surrounds herself with beautiful décor like the artisanal furnishings of Guillaume Féau; ethereally surreal paintings by Cy Twombly; elegant peony arrangements from L’Olivier. Exploring the world’s wonders is one treat Ryan never denies herself (“travel is my luxury and my necessity”), finding inspiration in the ancient cities of Istanbul or Marrakech, complete with a stay at the magnificent Royal Mansour hotel. Her perfect travel companion? A great read. “I read A Princess Remembers by Gayatri Devi on my last trip to India. It was a mystical and visual treat.”

Text by Kate Missine  Translated by Zhao Wen  Produced by Many Ngom