The Story of Sisley Paris: Elevating Beauty to an Art

The Story of Sisley Paris: Elevating Beauty to an Art

Sisley has been pushing the boundaries of beauty and skincare for over 40 years. Today, we lift the veil on this family-run brand and discover exactly why it is the crème de la crème of French cosmetics.

When Hubert and Isabelle d’Ornano launched Sisley in 1976, they wanted to create something that would be markedly different from any other luxury skincare brand that had come before. Backed by a talented research team, they firmly believed that natural ingredients were the most promising area in cosmetics research.

Sisley made Phyto-cosmetology, the power of plants combined with the science of cosmetics, its specialty long before the cosmetics industry jumped on the band wagon. As pioneers in this field, the d’Ornano’s visionary approach to the luxury cosmetics sector has helped create a legacy that spans more than 40 years and a brand that continues to innovate to this very day.

Its continued evolution and creative direction is spearheaded by the d’Ornano family themselves as Sisley is still very much a family-run business. “Family plays a very big role – it’s hugely important for our identity,” says Christine d’Ornano, the brand’s Global Vice President.

PHOTO: Oleg Covian (Portrait)
From right: Isabelle d’Ornano, who cofounded Sisley with her husband Hubert; her son Philippe, the company’s CEO; her daughter Christine, global vice president; and her grand-daughter Daria, head of content.

“I think you can really feel the family within our products, especially in the fragrances and the makeup. You can feel the personality. I work in Paris on the product development side and I work with my mother who has worked on this since the very beginning. My brother heads up the business and we very much do what we want instead of looking to what other brands are doing.”

Balancing research & design

Research and product development are one of the major cornerstones of the Sisley universe. The brand’s Research Laboratories’ unique know-how brings together expert knowledge of skin – the skin’s mechanisms and its environment – and an unparalleled expertise and mastery of Phyto-cosmetology.

Sisley CEO Philippe d’Ornano in the company’s research lab.

Products are never ‘rushed’ through research and development in order to latch onto flash-in-the-pan trends. The Sisley research teams take their time to develop formulas so that each product meets the highest safety standards while delivering exceptional results. “We take great pride in the development of our products, some of which have taken over 10 years to develop,” says Christine.

One such product is Sisleÿa, the brand’s iconic treatment range. It took more than a decade to develop the award-winning skincare collection which contains a complex formula of over fifty different natural key ingredients that simultaneously target the different mechanisms of skin ageing.

With formulas at the cutting-edge of skin care technology, the Sisleÿa collection is a complete anti-aging ritual for skin that looks visibly younger for longer.

“Skincare is very much about working with our lab and the scientists and trying to develop the most efficient products we can. When it comes to the fragrance and the makeup it’s very much about being an artist, and drawing on our family taste,” explains Christine.

When art is a family affair

Art is a very personal and important aspect of the Sisley brand. As lifelong art lovers and collectors, Isabelle and Hubert d’Ornano collaborated with many of their favourite artists. “It has perhaps been the most important passion of of my parents,” says Christine. As soon as Sisley started to find its success, art was the first thing they started buying. They always had their heads in the sales catalogs. They trained our eye. And they introduced us to the artists they liked.”

Notably, Polish sculptor Bronislaw Krzysztof created the sculptural caps for Eau du Soir and Soir de Lune, two of brand’s signature fragrances.

Soir de Lune

“Originally,  Eau du Soir  was created by my father for my mother – it was created privately for her and she wore it for 10 years before they decided to launch it to the public.  Most famous classic fragrances have been developed like that – it was a very personal approach and we are able to do that because we are a family business,” explains Christine.

In 2017 the brand collaborated with English illustrator Quentin Jones to bring the wonderful world of Izia, a new perfume, to life. More recently, Isabelle d’Ornano’s niece, Polish painter Elzbieta Radziwill, brought her colourful and whimsical touch to the various Maison Sisley locations.

Maison Sisley: an elegant oasis

Maison Sisley, the brand’s exclusive signature boutiques with treatment rooms, are luxurious self-care destinations like no other. These calming spaces have been designed to make customers feel at one with the surroundings – a haven of well-being where they can reconnect and rejuvenate away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city.

Originally opened in 2017 in Paris, the interior design of the flagship boutique was closely supervised by Isabelle and Christine d’Ornano and closely mirrors the family’s personal style and passion for art.

The floor is covered with a handwoven Indian rug made of wool and silk, and the “Moon” light fixture by Dimore Studio in Milan hangs from the ceiling.

The lounge, undoubtedly the most personal part of the boutique, resembles a private living room. The mirrored sideboard decorated with stylised leaves, along with the lamps, is complemented perfectly by the “Jetlag” sofa by India Mahdavi and other works of art specially chosen for the space.

The Sisley Café is a relaxing space, reserved exclusively for clients. The tables are adorned with the chequers featured on the makeup cases and the famous black-and-white zebra motif from the Phyto-Lip Twist line.

Furnishings echo the mural, which was painted by children from South Sudan, and the botanical wallpaper inspired by the tropics. The light fixtures are by Spanish artist Alvaro Catalán de Ocón and are made from recycled plastic bottles woven by Colombian women in a variety of designs, shapes, and colours.

The treatment rooms have were intentionally designed to be pure and understated, echoing the brand’s ethos.

It’s this nuanced attention to detail and artistic richness of the Maison Sisley space which allows customers to fully immerse themselves in the brand and indulge in the tailor-made treatments.

The suspended, lit ceilings depict Ginkgo Biloba leaves, one of Sisley’s emblematic ingredients found in many products.

The brand has since expanded its Maison Sisley offering. Currently, there are Maison Sisley locations in France (Paris, Bordeaux and Lyon), Germany (Munich), the Czech Republic (Prague), Vienna (Austria) which opened in September, the United States (New York and Las Vegas) and Asia (Shanghai, Taipei and Hong Kong).

Sisley in South Africa

Exclusive to VISI customers: Visit the site and receive – 20% on the Sisley Online shop with the code VISI20 (offer available online only and ends 6 November, T&Cs apply). 

Discover Sisley Paris South Africa Official Site Here