Severance Hall, standing steadfast at the beginning of Wade Oval in Cleveland, Ohio, has been hailed as one of the most beautiful concert halls on the globe for over three quarters of a century and is home to the world renowned Cleveland Orchestra. Built in the early 1900’s, Severance Hall is dressed luxuriously in pink marble and travertine with rich accents of velvet, soft lighting and hand painted pearlescent ceilings that seem to change color with every nuance and swoon. It is almost an impossibility to look unattractive there because the lighting and the colors were specifically chosen to make any woman look utterly lovely at any time of day. Attending a black tie ball at Severance Hall is an unforgettable sensory feast as this building is made to be experienced through wondrous music, candlelight and dancing. It is also home to one of the most amazing Skinner pipe organs (6025 pipes!) that I’ve ever seen and to hear a Bach Fugue played on it at Christmas time is nothing short of chilling. Some places simply become a part of your very marrow and in my life, this majestic hall has been one of them. I have been coming to hear The Cleveland Orchestra since I was a very young girl and it is there that I go to when I want to feel closest to my mother who died last year. This was her place and she loved the Cleveland Orchestra more than any other organization that she volunteered her time for.
When I was in kindergarten she began to help my father build our family business and despondent that her volunteer time was cut in half she decided to create a fundraiser for The Cleveland Orchestra that still lives on to this day. We have sold Reed and Barton silver bells every year for at least the last 40 years and when she died last year I took over the project. Bell sales always begin every year at Thanksgiving and end at the very last holiday festival concert, usually on almost the night before Christmas. Last year was the first year that I found myself going down to the hall on those cold nights without her. It was a bittersweet experience to be sure, but fortunately I had an entire group of my mothers devoted friends and committee members to help me. On one of those nights I found myself with a dear old friend named Mary Anne Lucas and it was then that I first fell under the captivating spell that is Sisley’s Soir de Lune.
I am convinced that Mary Anne is one of the last great ladies left in the world, she is always beautifully dressed and undeniably feminine. She’s utterly gorgeous and I have no idea of her real age because she won’t tell me. She has a laugh that’s a little bit reminiscent of the silvery bells that we were selling,I don’t believe that she’s quite of this world. Mary Anne is the kind of woman that young men follow around without knowing why because she’s absolutely mesmerizing and timeless, she’s definitely who I want to be when I finally grow up! She’s a bit like Jane Seymour’s character in that fabulous old movie “Somewhere in Time”, a woman so very mysterious and beautiful that you just don’t ever completely know who she is or where she is from. I walked in on that cold Thursday evening to find Mary Anne dressed in a softly tailored apricot colored Chanel suit, a true vintage with a lovely matching scarf and gloves. Her hair was brushed back over the nape of her neck and around her throat were the loveliest strand of pink hued natural pearls creating an effect that was shimmering,warm and perfect. As I kissed her hello and handed her a glass of Champagne, I realized that she was completely enveloped in one of the most decadent clouds of fragrance that I’d ever experienced and I could barely speak as I didn’t want to break the trance. When I finally asked her about it she just laughed and with eyes twinkling told me that it was her absolute favorite, Sisley’s Soir de Lune. The next day I went immediately to Saks and grabbed a sample to play with. Since then my life hasn’t been quite the same. So far in all of my years of lusting after gorgeous fragrance I’ve never experienced anything like this one. Soir de Lune is a passionate bombshell of a fragrance that’s barely contained within a very lady like and absolutely stunning bottle. I have had men and women alike move to hug me, sigh and subsequently bury their faces in my hair when I’m wearing it . By the time they’ve come up for air they have fallen heavily under the evening moon spell, the same way that I first did. My husband loves it and thinks that it’s the most romantic fragrance that I’ve ever worn for him, in our bed and out.
I’m not sure what makes Soir de Lune so magical but I’m sure that it has something to do with the natural extracts of honey, nutmeg, sandalwood and rose that have been woven through the other accords to create a very powerful love potion. Maybe it’s that Isabelle d’ Ornano created it under the magical light of the fullest moon, or maybe the honey is the elixir that sweetens the air and makes you feel like when you are wearing Soir de Lune that anything is possible. Perhaps it’s just that it’s the most confusing fragrance that I’ve ever worn. It truly does have the “lady in the parlor , wanton in the bedroom” appeal that so many fine perfumes try to aspire to but never fulfill. “Will she or won’t she”....only one man is lucky enough to truly know and something wonderful always happens when I’m wearing Soir de Lune, it’s become a talisman, my good luck charm! Wearing it makes me want to dress up, go dancing and drink even more Champagne while stealing kisses under the stars. It isn’t a fragrance for a young woman because of it’s overt chypre sensuality. It takes many a decade and many a lingering kiss to understand how to be swept away by the rapturous abandon that is Soir de Lune. It is a fragrance for neither the innocent nor the faint of heart who could wear it but seem only like they were playing “dress up” in their mother’s closet. However, when the time is right and you finally “know”, the lovely lady with her golden moon will be waiting to carry you far far away.
Soir de Lune is available at Saks Fifth Avenue and sisley-cosmetics.com
Photographs courtesy of Sisley and Hello Cleveland