“My first job out of college was working for Amy Sacco, who owned Bungalow 8 and Lot 61. This was in 2002 and she was the queen of New York City nightlife. I ripped out an article [about her] from Elle, and I ended up going out one night and seeing her. I took the article out of my wallet and said, ‘I just graduated, I would love to come and work for you,’ and she gave me my first full-time job. With her I learned that putting a room together is an art—it’s hard to teach, but it’s really everything. I’m working on a new social experience across from Pier 17 in New York very much inspired by Bungalow. I think people are looking for their new ‘third’ space in New York—it’s not your home, it’s not your work, it's your place to go and have fun. My goal is to sort of bring back 1998, where we were talking and not all on our phones.
My social world right now consists of a just few places that I visit all the time. I go out for a particular experience, or to see people. I’m obsessed with La Mercerie—the manager was an Olympic swimmer for France and just wrote this incredible memoir called Godspeed. Another place I go to is Alley Cat, in the basement of The Beekman Hotel. I think being successful in nightlife and hospitality is being able to tell a story and create a fantasy, and [Serge Becker] does that so well. Just go there. They have a great martini, which is my favorite drink. A Tito’s martini, straight up, super, super dry—like, wave the vermouth over it, don’t even put it in—with a twist. Preferably made by my boyfriend, who makes the best ones. There are a couple of other places in the city where you can get a really good martini. Francois at Augustine also makes a great one. What’s too much to spend on one drink depends on how many drinks you’ve had before. [Laughs]
If I can, I’ll start getting ready with my ‘tini time and some tunes. I like to listen to the 'Guilty' album, which is Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb, and pretend I’m in a Virginia Slims 1970s ad sans smoking. My outfit choice falls into three categories, and it never wavers, it’s just a variation on a theme. Usually it’s just jeans and a T-shirt—my friend started a T-shirt subscription box called For Days where it’s all upcycled, so I wear a lot of those. Or a slip dress from Organic by John Patrick. I love a gray sweater or sweatshirt with jeans and heels, and this gray sweatshirt from Isabel Marant is my favorite.
I don’t wear a lot of makeup because I’m not good at it, but I think I know what looks good on me. Lining my waterline gives me a different eye shape—it makes me feel a little more feline, and a little sexier. It might be a function of me never wearing makeup, but when I do it people are like, ‘Oh my god, did you just change?’ I’m still wearing the same dirty jeans, but I put on eyeliner. I got this Il Makiage black liner, which is good, and it’s very, very sharp. I use that, or I use a super cheapy-choppy one—L’Oréal Voluminous Smoldering Eyeliner is the best. I use the Glossier mascara because it makes my lashes look long, and I have very wimpy lashes. The only other thing I do consistently is fill in my mangy, patchy brows with a pencil from Benefit—I try to fill them in a little bit, and then I brush them up. I use the Stretch Concealer under my eyes and on my spots, when I have them. Then I’ll do Olio e Osso in No. 4 on the apples of my cheeks, or I’ll use Cloud Paint. I use Gen G for lipstick—I have all of them. I use a lot of Glossier products, but my kids steal them! They have a lot of fun with it, but I’m missing my Haloscope. Where the hell is it? I’m sure one of them has it. I do wear a red lip, and here’s a really good one—it’s CoverGirl Seduce Scarlet 310. It’s sort of creamy, and it was $8.79, so that’s the right price. We were on this impromptu crawl in Red Hook, and we ended up at this place Sunny’s and I was dancing, and I was like, ‘Wait! I need to put on a lipstick!’ So I went out and bought it.
I just started experimenting with hair color. It was blonde-ish, and then I decided I wanted it pink, and now it’s sort of rose gold. My friend Maayan Zilberman and I spend a lot of time talking about which potions and mixtures work for curly hair, and I finally got the right combination of products. I’ve been doing a lot of island hair, but it’s blown out right now—I use a paddle brush, and then a flat iron. It’s the only thing I know how to do on myself. Dailey at H2 Salon in Bed Stuy does my color and cut, and Lorraine does my blowouts. I use this Joico Color Balance Blue Shampoo to tone it, maybe once a week. If I wash otherwise I’m using Mane ’n Tail or whatever, but I put it in Muji containers because it makes me feel a little fancier. I use the Doux Fresh Rinse, which is great for curly hair, and tea tree oil for my scalp. Body Hero smells amazing, and it’s a good oil that leaves my skin moisturized.
Comme des Garçons Incense is so good—I spend a lot more money on fragrance and like, candles, than I do on makeup. There’s a store called Twisted Lily on Atlantic Avenue and, oh my god. The owner talks to me about niche scents, and I’m in there for a long time—it’s like my favorite thing to do. I’ve had Chanel Gardenia for years—it was the first nice gift my ex-husband, who I’m still really close with, ever gave me. The girls like to wear it sometimes, which is sweet. The Glossier fragrance is really good. I’ve been rocking Santal for years, and now it’s like 'enough with it already'. My favorite fragrance for day right now is the Baccarat Rouge from Maison Francis Kurkdjian. At night I like to do a little Wonderoud—a little bit darker for night. Or I do a little grab and go with samples from Twisted Lily—the owner gives me a lot of them because I buy so much. I’m really excited that 10 Corso Como is coming to the Seaport District, because their fragrances are amazing—I’m going to be their best customer.
At the end of the night, I take off my makeup, especially the eye stuff. Basically the only look I do is a waterline, and I hate when I wake up in the morning and it’s still there. The Face Halo does a really good job of getting everything off, and I can just wash them in the laundry. I really like the Milky Jelly cleanser and Cetaphil—I switch between the two. This Renaissance Cleansing Gel from Oskia London is also quite good. I love me some Trader Joe’s—they have a really good rose water facial toner. And then I do the Power Glow Peel from M-61, which feels like a good base. I like to moisturize a lot, and I use a lot of Aquaphor because I have really chapped lips. I love this French Girl Under Eye Oil—I usually keep it on my desk at work. Anything ‘French girl’ I’m like, ‘Ooh, it must work.’ I really like the Goop Revitalizing Moisturizer. Honestly it was gifted to me, but I would repurchase it. I’m like the person for whom packaging was invented, so if it has a good package, I’ll probably get it. And I use this Linné Smooth Body Balm on my face—I don’t know if I’m supposed to be doing this, I might get yelled at by my dermatologist! Dr. Rita Linkner is my dermatologist for everything. If I’ve had a really fun night then yes, there’s food happening. And then I like to watch Portlandia. On my computer, no matter what time, to wind it down—it’s so good!”
—as told to ITG
Britt Morgan-Saks photographed by Tom Newton in New York on July 21, 2018.