'With each story we do we think, 'What have we never done before? How can we do it differently?' Back when Kendall Jenner first walked for Marc Jacobs, we did a collection story with her where she shot it selfie-style the day after the show. The next season, Caroline Trentini modeled the looks in Vines. Then there's also the question of backstage celebrity coverage done differently. Our answer to that was Nicki Minaj doing Anaconda backstage with the models...And put it out two hours after it was done! It’s always about speed and delivering the right stuff.
My favorite beauty thing we have done for Vogue.com was haircuts in the park with Christiaan. We didn’t have any money to put up posters legally in town, so we put them up, shot photos of them, then took them down. Then on the morning of, we released where it was going to be, and there were lines of people to get their hair cut—it was so cool! He really does take people’s hair to interesting places. I love that people submitted to it with no mirror, nothing, no consultation They were just trusting this quite eccentric and large Dutch man to do something to their hair. And not just fashion people—little kids and random tourists, people just lined up. And I thought this is exactly what New York should be. There was no signage and there were no product displays and there were no banners, nothing gave it away. It just happened and disappeared.
We are very lucky at Vogue.com to be able to use the archive for our coverage—and we've been exploring it a lot with Vogue Runway. You look at the Perry Ellis grunge show and think, 'Marc Jacobs got fired for that?' The beauty and the youth of those models! To see Carla Bruni on the runway, they were spectacular. In some cases the clothes were simpler, but the models were meant to be, they were cast that way. Really full faces of makeup and hair. It’s been really fun, and I am not a back-in-the-day person—I really like to look forward.
SKINMy beauty routine probably hasn't changed much in the past five years, but one thing that I have started [since my first Top Shelf] is using the Biologique Recherche line. Joanna Czech is a facialist I see whenever she's in town and she started using that on me. And when I’m in Paris for the shows, if I’m feeling flush, I book an appointment with Biologique, too. That’s an expensive taste and must be used sparingly. I would also say that they’re not products that smell particularly good, which somehow adds to their credibility. And it's one of the facials where you feel you look better after. It might be psychological, but you feel your skin is better. I use it in the most basic way—I have some little serums, but I’m not one of those people that can tell you what I do. Collectively they make you feel like your face is in control.
Glossier’s Mega Greens Galaxy Pack is a very old-school mask, and it makes me very happy to use it. I’ll walk around the house with it on and when you take it off, you feel like you've done something. I use a lot of products made by my friends, or products my friends have recommended to me. It's all very personal. But in terms of routine, I just wash my face and moisturize it in some capacity, you know, once a day, maybe twice.
I’m not that much of a puritan, I do love massages in beautiful places—just not in the scene where it costs way too much. I was in Venice with my son for the Biennale, and I went to the Bauer Hotel for a massage, and it was amazing. I’m going to my friend Irene’s 40th birthday party in Mexico at the end of October and I’ve already booked a 90-minute massage at some place I’ve never heard of—it’s called the Hotel Matilda. That’s a very decadent gesture. In London I really like to go to the Cowshed Spa in Primrose Hill, and they do a kind of deluxe pedicure, which involves a large pillow on your lap that you can collapse onto. It’s very comfortable, and you can fall sleep.
There was a time a few years ago when I was probably cutting my own hair. Or I would see Derek at Tommy Guns when it was in the East Village [relocated to Ludlow Blunt in Williamsburg]. Now I get my hair cut twice a year from John Nollet in Paris, who's this amazing hair guy at the Park Hyatt. He’s responsible for Nicole Kidman’s look, Monica Bellucci, Johnny Depp and his ex...he did the hair for Pirates of the Caribbean, too. He's also done my hair for the last two Met Balls. In 2014, he did these incredible extensions that were gray and purple feathers. You can’t really see in pictures, but it had a kind of weird rustling sound. Then this year, he did a very beautiful embroidered thing. I love collaborating with him.
Every morning, I use Josie Maran's Argan Oil in my hair—sometimes I blowdry it, sometimes I don't. I used to be more meticulous about drying my hair and not having frizz, but not in a way that anyone could really notice. I’m sure it looks exactly the same. You have to really plan ahead, and there’s a premium put on polish in a way, but I’m much more relaxed about all of that now.
I have three boys so we go through a lot of shampoo in my house. My gym uses the Giovanni Tea Tree line, which is really inexpensive and you can get it at Whole Foods. It would make my hair look good after I'd workout, so I started buying it. It doesn't foam much because it doesn't have sulfate, which is good if you are someone who's heavily invested in certain treatments for your hair.
My nails are very plain right now because at the end of this summer, I was traveling and going to beaches. I still work with Maki [Sakamoto], the Japanese artist, and I love her—I just have to start with a concept. I go through cycles where I do and do and do, and then something happens and it's nice to be bare and very plain. I have to take a break. And there’s no in-between for me—there’s never just nail polish. It’s conceptual or it’s completely plain. Bastien Gonzalez does my pedicure. He comes to town every two months and he has a really good foot cream. He's the best pedicurist in the world.
Sarah Brown introduced me to Maral at Warren Tricomi, who I see every two months. She’s amazing. In the '90s I went through a point where I really plucked them super, super skinny and meticulously for a long time—they were like my thing. It was around the same time as Linda Evangelista, but I didn't look as good as her. I’d gone from Brooke Shields heavy eyebrow to that and then they kind of grew in in that haphazard way. I just want them to look normal so sometimes I'll pencil them in with a Givenchy Eyebrow Show Powdery Eyebrow Pencil.
I don’t wear makeup daily, even though I tell myself I should. There’re all these studies that say women who wear lipstick earn more than women who don’t wear lipstick—but I’m afraid I’ll bite it off or it will go wrong. I like dramatic gestures when it comes to beauty, so for an event I'll make a decision about what direction I want to go in. It might be something like completely circling the eye with eyeliner, or metallic, or something electric blue. It has to be something that’s obvious when you’re doing it. So there will be that one thing and then everything else will be really plain. I always like it when it looks slightly like a naïve gesture, like you did it yourself, even if it’s done professionally. It doesn't have to be pristine.
I once had my makeup done in London by a woman who did Kate Moss, and she only uses shadows—she never uses any line. That's the real secret weapon of the fashion industry and these people who do makeup on beautiful people when they want to look normal, but better than the rest of us. She used three different mascara brushes, and seven different types of skin-toney powders and eyeshadows...all those colors that are not colors and look like they could have been pantyhose at one point. It was really good. You can’t do that by yourself, but you end up looking just like yourself, just better. It’s just a lot of work. You have to be like a professional beautiful face to hire those people.
The only makeup I carry around in a bag is that eyebrow pencil and this one Nars color, Dragon Girl, which is this red lip that I can apply without any mess. Tina Turnbow used it on me for the 2010 Met and it stayed on! Then I have Roller Lash from Benefit and the Bumble and bumble Surf Spray so I can kind give myself some interesting texture without going weird and flat. Then there's my Beauty is Life concealer—I have no idea where I got that from. I bet a makeup artist used it on me and then left it for me. I attempt to us it sometimes on myself, but I’m not really good at concealing anything. I have no memory of ever buying it, but I trust that it works.
There's a yoga teacher I go to, her name is Krissy Jones and she just opened a new place on the Lower East Side, called Sky Ting Studios. She’s really good. I would love to say I do ashtanga but I don’t because I hurt my back. With her I do anything to sort of unkink my back. I go to Aerospace with Michael Olajide, we do boxing. Every decade I check back in and try it again and it’s really hard. He’s the person I love more than anyone for that. For someone who’s going to make me feel intense pain I prefer it be him.
Right now I’m training to run a half marathon because someone convinced me that if you learn to run—once you pass seven miles—if anyone asks you to run, you’ll be able to. But I’m really one of those people who doesn’t run. I can do the President’s Physical Fitness Test, and I’m out. That kind of convinced me to try and run. Not because I’m looking to change my body in any way—just because I've never done it. And that’s a convincing enough reason for me to get past a fear factor.”
—as told to ITG
Sally Singer photographed by Tom Newton in New York on September 4, 2015.