With an eye honoring the past and a focus on the future, this Paris-based executive has her sights set on taking her family’s storied brand to new heights.
Written By JANNA JOHNSON O’TOOLE
VIOLET GREY profiles female beauty entrepreneurs who are considered industry game changers because of their individual approach to business. Each one entered the conversation in her own manner and maintained a steady, if not unparalleled, trajectory with her indomitable spirit.
As far as family businesses go, Christine d’Ornano struck gold. Her late father founded Sisley in 1976, and after a brief career as an assistant buyer for Saks Fifth Avenue, she couldn’t resist joining in on the fun. “I grew up with the brand and at some point it became obvious that I wanted to get on board the family adventure,” she says.
d’Ornano is now instrumental in growing the company around the world. But it’s continued success, she insists, comes from its heritage as “a pioneer in phyto-cosmetology or the scientific use of plant extracts in the cosmetic industry.” Long before ‘green’ and ‘natural’ became mainstays in the beauty lexicon, Sisley was formulating with complex, plant-based actives, taking “great pride in the development of such unique products, some of which have taken over 10 years to create,” says d’Ornano. “In addition, all of our formulas—especially the fragrances—are developed by our family using our specific taste and heritage which gives them a very personal and original feel.”
Today, Sisley remains family-owned and d’Ornano is proud to carry on and evolve the legacy created by her father. “From him, I learned to be persistent, have tenacity, and search for quality. He aimed for perfection even in the tiniest details. I try to draw upon these values every day.”
Here, the Parisian executive shares her love of a bold lip, the fragrance she’s worn for decades, and her luxurious solution for instant lifting.
First thing you do when you wake up?
I mist on Eau Florale by Sisley, a refreshing floral spray I keep by my bed.
As much as possible! I try to sleep eight hours if I can, because it really makes a difference, as our skin repairs all the damages of the day at night.
Five minutes since I have to rush to take my girls to school. But you can do a lot in that time!
Typical skincare regimen?
In the morning, I cleanse with Lyslait Cleansing Milk and our Floral Toning Lotion and then apply Sisleya L’Intégral Face Cream and Sisleya L’Integral Eye Cream followed by All Day All Year to protect my skin. In the evening, especially if I am going out, I use the Sisley Black Rose Mask for ten minutes to re-plump my skin. It is miraculous! At night, I make sure to always remove my makeup, and usually use Supremÿa Face and Supremÿa Eye.
Hair situation in the a.m.?
I wash my hair every day as it is very thin and do a quick blow-dry myself using our Volumizing Spray by Hair Rituel. I find that when I use the Hair Rituel Revitalizing Fortifying Serum I can wash my hair every other day.
Your signature beauty look?
As natural as possible. I use the Phyto-Teint Ultra Éclat foundation to even my skin tone and the Stylo Lumiere as a concealer. I like to wear lipstick, and I love Sisley’s Phyto-Rouge. I mostly wear Rose Paris, a light pink, during the day and Rose Delhi, which is a fuschia shade, at night. Sometimes I do a bright red lip. For that, I like Red Monaco.
I swim three times a week which really helps me mentally, too. I also do Pilates and yoga. And I love taking long walks with my dog Lily, a whippet, on the weekend.
Go-to breakfast and a.m. beverage?
I love breakfast. I make whole grain spelt muffins with blueberries at home and have one every morning with an almond latte.
Foolproof self-care move?
I love going to the Maison Sisley in Paris to have a Supremÿa facial. It incorporates deep massage that helps rid the skin of toxins and literally lifts my features. I also love the atmosphere of being there. It is truly a pampering place. Another luxury for me is having time to take a bath, apply a mask, and unwind.
L’Eau du Soir de Sisley. I have worn it since I was 15 years old switching to Eau de Campagne, a lighter fragrance, in the summer months.
An expensive-but-worth-it product or treatment?
The Sisley Supremya Facial.
A good manicure.
Last thing you do before bed?
Read my book.
Mine at Sisley!
When my twins were born I was very anxious about going back to work. A very good female architect told me: “My kids have reproached me about many things but never having a career.”
Highest point as an entrepreneur?
Creating something new that becomes successful.
Launching in Mexico was quite an adventure.