CHRISTINE D'ORNANO BY JANIS RATNIEKSBeauty runs in the family at Sisley:  it’s a French company, a family company – and a rather fabulous story, actually. It was established by a visionary entrepreneur, Hubert d’Ornano, in 1976, to ‘make use of the best that plants and essential oils have to offer in beauty products’. (Though in fact, Sisley‘s beauty heritage goes back beyond that: Hubert d’Ornano’s father, Comte Guillaume d’Ornano, was once upon a time co-creator of Another Great Skincare Brand…)

Isabelle d’Ornano has been at her husband’s side since the dawn of the Sisley empire, involved in shaping the feel and look of this family brand, as well in the creation of skincare – and of course fragrance. And two of their children, Philippe and Christine d’Ornano, have been working for over 20 years to help develop this prestigious name. (Christine, pictured right, lives in the UK where she’s Managing Director/International Vice President, involved in all aspects – from creation of products to the design of packaging.)

Sisley has certainly become synonymous with luxury skincare all around the world – but what many fragrance-lovers know Sisley best for is a stunning perfumed portfolio, launched in 1976 with the ‘breath-of-fresh air’ Eau de Campagne:  a breezy outdoors walk in a bottle (and a wonderful way to revive flagging spirits, we’ve always found).

Sisley‘s fragrances, as they put it, ‘are an invitation to dream and seduction’. Interestingly, Sisley has chosen to focus on a particular family of fragrances for many of its creations: the chypre family. Sophisticated, elegant (and yes, quite ‘grown-up’), true perfumistas are often drawn to chypres for their complexity and intrigue. (In our book, nothing makes you feel quite so beautifully-dressed as a finishing touch of chypre.)

EAU_DU_SOIRBest known, probably, is Sisley Eau du Soir, acclaimed as one of the most elegant examples of the chypre family of fragrances ever created. (If you’ve never tried it, drift by a Sisley counter to explore and enjoy – as we like to say…! – because we agree with Christine that these poetic and modern fragrances ‘must be worn to be truly discovered…’)

And there’s a romantic story behind Eau du Soir: it was created by Hubert d’Ornano for his wife, in 1990, and was her personal scent before becoming a global bestseller. Christine wears it today: ‘It’s my signature scent for day and night. It reminds me of my childhood as my mother used to wear it, and it reminds me of when she used to come into my room and kiss me goodnight. Although I like to change to a fresher scent in summer, like Eau de Campagne…’ (Her mother, Christine reveals, has moved on to Soir de Lune, ‘which she developed later with my father’.)

Look carefully at the caps of Sisley bottles, too: they’re unlike anything else out there. Over the years, Sisley has commissioned one of the great living artists to create these miniature works of art:  sculptor Bronislaw Krzystof (see his design for Soir de Lune, pictured above) . Some are offered as limited editions, prized by those who love collecting fragrance flacons, as well as by serious Sisley-lovers.

Philippe, Isabelle, Christine et Hubert d'OrnanoAs Christine has charmingly observed to another journalist, ‘My father loves family more than anything else, and he has created a business where we all blossom and interact in a productive way.’

With 10 grandchildren just beginning to explore the brand’s coveted creams and perfumes, this entirely family-owned empire’s future seems secure. Smiles Christine, ‘I think that they’ll all be involved in the business in the future…’


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