Sally Singer, Editor in Chief, T


“I have no concept of myself not looking exactly like myself, even as I age. I always think people who do a lot of injections or alterations to themselves have an idea of how they should look. For instance, some women knew by age eleven that they didn’t like their hair texture, or by age twelve they always wore makeup to school because they knew their natural state involved enhancement. I think I was a tomboy and I don’t come from a family that wore much makeup so I never really had that. That didn’t mean I thought I looked good, it just meant that I didn’t have that idea of the project of inventing me. You’d have to have a vision of what you’re after, and I just think I should, for better or for worse, look like me. But then when I’m not going to look like me, I want to have false eyelashes, or really bright lips, or look really different.

On a day-to-day basis I wear no makeup. And if I know that I have a big event, my friend Tina Turnbow often does my makeup. I would say that if I’m going to wear makeup I want people to think, ‘oh she’s wearing makeup.’ It’s purposeful, intriguing, and directional. I think if you’re going to line your eyes you should line with a color, you know, purple or green; you should pop your eyes out. The idea that you just line with chocolate brown, who cares? Or, I think if you’re going to wear a red lip you should wear a really really red lip and it should be super strong. Or maybe it shouldn’t even be red, maybe it should be another strong color, but if you’re going to wear a lipstick really wear a lipstick—if not your lips are probably just fine. And I do like the look with makeup where it’s like, even if you’re having your makeup professionally done, it should look like you were an eighteen-year- old Italian girl in the 1960’s who just threw on an awesome eyeliner and a lipstick. It should look like the brush stroke: fast, confident and homemade. It should have that hand. I think when people wear a lot of makeup—are really trying to wear makeup—it shouldn’t look like you had ‘big’ makeup done, it should look like you were Debbie Harry getting ready to go on stage at some point, you went like this with the eye pencil and you went like this with the lips and you went like this up your cheek and you should see the brushstroke. That’s what sexy, because it comes from a kind of a confidence—that you liked who you were in the first place, you were just doing something because it’s fun.

I like the Alba Botanica shampoos from Whole Foods and I use Moroccanoil in my hair. I highlight it with Reyad at Frederic Fekkai but not in any organized way, every three months maybe. I think about my hair a bit more than I do my makeup. If I know I have to be presentable for a party or I have to do TV or something, then I will make an effort and blow my hair out. I don’t do it myself, I have to go to someone, and it might be once every ten days. So I’ll go to Ben at Hair Party on 28th & Madison, because it’s 24 hours. Otherwise I just wash my hair and comb it out and let it air dry. Also, I go to Derek at Tommy Guns. If I have a really nice party, like the MET, I’ll go to Derek; he cuts my hair as well and he’s great. If I need a really crazy up-do or a really amazing hair creation, which I also think is fun, I go to Mario at Mario Nico who’s really amazing if you want the conical beehive kind of thing. My favorite up-do was the one I just had in Paris last collections at Alexandre Zouari, he did the [Fall 2010] ‘Prada hair’ for me and I wore it for the whole of that day, and the next day it was still there. And when it finally started to deconstruct it went into this Jacqueline Bisset mode. It was really good. Best up-do ever. Because it did change the way you looked at yourself. That was one moment where I actually thought ‘wow, I look good. And I don’t look like me, but I look good, and I look different, like a different person.’ I love big dramatic hair moments.

Maki at Valley NYC does my nails. This is a gel French manicure with glitter. It’s my nail, clear Calgel and then real glitter. I’ve been doing this with different types of metallic glitters all summer but I feel that for Europe I’m going to do something totally different. Two seasons ago it was a matte black nail with white cameos that looked like Wedgwood figures, on just 4 nails. It was very Japanese teen. Last season was clear gel with black French tips that went down into a point, so kind of a wicked idea of a French, or, to my children, looked like Batman. I need something that starts clear because I like to wear my nails for 3 weeks, and you can see the growth. I’m thinking in purples, grays and browns—Chanel Particuliere and Paradoxal are great—as opposed to more theatrical poppy colors. I might do something kind of textural and old-world, because I think clothes are getting simpler and what you want is something that’s simple and dramatic. I might do them looking like plaster, so sort of grayish, maybe with three-dimensional roses…it’s a Farrow & Ball nail, built out. That’s where we’re going [laughs], like Skimming Stone with roses or something 3D. Possibly on that kind of a base so that the whole nail looks like plaster, because every time I think about color I edit it back. We’ve gone so far with those fluorescents and all that that there’s nothing you can really do with that anymore. It’s not that interesting, for me. And clothes right now are so tonal and textural and grown-up that I think the plaster nail, the old-school Art Institute nail, is where we’re going.

My skincare routine has been quite haphazard but at the moment I use these products called Between You and the Moon, by the facialist Emma Graves, who I see at Valley as well. They’re made in Redhook [Brooklyn] and they’re super super super natural. There’s a grain cleanser that you mix with water in your hand, called Sow Your Wild Oats. Then I use an oil, Nourish and Replenish. And she does a kind of old- fashioned cold cream that I use as a moisturizer, called Agnes. So I use those three things and go in for facials every three months or as often as I can. She’s very organic, earthy, with very good skin—I’ve had lots of facials and I like hers a lot. Sometimes you can go to one of those supernatural facialists and you’re not quite sure what you’re getting…whatever they say is going to peel doesn’t peel enough…with her the exfoliating process is great and she extracts. I think she has the right hands. But it’s not cheap; it’s like getting highlights, and you have to balance these things like one month one thing, next month another. I also see Lavinia there for waxing. ITG: SO IT’S LIKE ONE STOP SHOPPING? Yes, if I’m feeling really rich on a given day.

I also love La Mer. I use it sparingly to keep it going. There was this time at Vogue where I had a facial in Paris from a very famous facialist and I woke up the next morning and my face was so swollen, I was like the Elephant Man. It was beyond. I had such an allergic reaction, and it just happened to be the morning of the Neiman Marcus breakfast that you have to go to; you can’t be like ‘I look like the Elephant Man, I’m not coming.’ I went, and Connie Anne Phillips (then the Associate Publisher) went to her room and gave me a big pot of La Mer and said ‘just smear this all over your face.’ The La Mer calmed it down—it went down. I could not tell you why it does what it does, but I love that product.”

—as told to ITG

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  • samantha

    i loved this!

  • Derek lam

    I agree totally with Sally about makeup. For the shows, I never really want a "natural" look. it starts with healthy beautiful skin, then I ask Tom Pecheux to imagine with me a spontaneous yet strong and confident play with color. debbie Harry, my ideal too of perfectly madeup makeup. But Sally also looks great unmade, and just the most amazing nails!

  • victory closet

    This was terrific and perfectly unedited. I am so inspired by Ms. Singer's and career, but it's great fun to hear about her beauty routine. I hope girls (and boys) everywhere hear this loud and clear: "That’s what sexy, because it comes from a kind of a confidence—that you liked who you were in the first place, you were just doing something because it’s fun." Amen!

  • jennifer ament

    I think we have a lot in common.:) Love your taste, and completely inspired! Thanks...

  • jennifer ottendorf

    absolutely perfect. i felt like i found a kindred spirit when i read this.

  • anon

    Emma Graves is awesome! She gave me a great facial! Great singer too! Cant miss!

  • Lauren David Peden/The Fashion Informer

    Great interview, and very refreshing to read about a fashion insider with such a healthy attitude toward beauty (her own and others). Love it.

  • Julia

    Just love everything about this: the interview, Sally's openness and philosophy. Such a treat to read.

  • lawstudent

    Lavinia is also my waxer and favorite person.

  • L.aime

    Lovely interview...I felt in love with her ring, could someone identify this beauty, please ?!!

  • Liza

    Sally's look is so natural and pretty. She's always fresh-faced!


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