We really do love our French imports—Camembert, Breton stripes, Serge Gainsbourg, Ladurée, etcetera—so it’s with unbridled enthusiasm that we announce that the beloved Paris-based beauty brand Sisley is now available at Barneys New York.
To celebrate, The Window checked in with the brand’s uber-stylish international vice president Christine d’Ornano, the daughter of founder Hubert d’Ornano and granddaughter of Comte Guillaume d’Ornano, who co-founded Lancôme.
Check out our interview below to hear what Christine has to say about the family-owned business and which Sisley products she deems “must-try.”
In a sense, you were born into cosmetic industry royalty. What are some of your earliest beauty-related memories?
I always remember playing with my mother’s samples in her bathroom—trying creams, smelling them. I also remember my mother coming to kiss me good night on her way out to dinner wearing Eau du Soir. Eau du Soir was her own personal fragrance for 10 years before my father decided to launch it commercially. I wear Eau du Soir now, and she has switched to Soir de Lune, which she developed later with my father.
What do you enjoy most about working within a family-owned and -operated business? And what are some of the unexpected challenges?
I enjoy the freedom and the rapidity decisions can be reached in a family business. As a family we have very complimentary skills and we each bring something different to the business. My father loves family more than anything else, and he has created a business where we all blossom and interact in a productive way. I do not see any challenges except for the fact that you bring work home with you in the evening and on holiday… but I have grown used to this and actually see it as an advantage as it allows me to be with my children and still work.
Tell us about some of the things that make Sisley unique.
Sisley’s philosophy is entirely focused on the quality of its products. When my father set up Sisley, he already had extensive experience in cosmetics and knew some of the best scientists in France. He believed from his previous company that the future of cosmetics was plants. He decided to focus Sisley entirely on making the best quality products, using only the finest active ingredients from plants. Some of our creams have taken years to develop and have over 50 different active ingredients from plants, brought together in complex formulas that really show results on the skin.
What’s your own beauty regimen like? Any family secrets?
In the morning I cleanse and apply Sisleya Global Anti Age Extra Rich as I have quite dry skin and Sisleya Eye Cream. Above it, I apply All Day All Year, which gives 8-hour continuous protection against UVA and UVB rays. Then I apply my foundation—I am testing a new one which is coming out in the fall. I love it. I apply it really only in the centre of my face. In the evening if I am going out I will cleanse again and apply the Black Rose Mask for 5 to 10 minutes. It gives my skin a boost and rehydrates it erasing fine lines that are due to tiredness and dehydration. Then I apply my make-up. At night I cleanse with our Lyslait milk and Floral toner and apply Supremya eye cream. If I feel the need, I apply several layers of different creams—my mother does this a lot and it really helps repulp the skin.
How would you describe your personal style? What designers are you drawn to?
My style is at times tailored and at others more bohemian. I like Saint Laurent and Stella Mc Cartney for tailoring. I also like Christopher Kane for his originality. I wear a lot of jeans and corduroys by J Brand, and I have always been a fan of Isabel Marant. I also wear quite a bit of vintage and clothes that I have stolen from my mother’s wardrobe.
For those new to Sisley, which products would you deem “must try”?
And finally, when you’re not running a global beauty brand, what do you for fun? How do you kick back?
I swim three times a week, which I find really relaxing. On weekends I go to the countryside in England. I ride with my children and cook with them and then we invite friends. I love nature and my children have inherited this too. In the summer we go to Biarritz. My children love surfing as do all my family.