Sally Singer On Unsexy Photo Retouching, What Kind of People She Hires, and the 'Circus' That Is Street Style

Sally Singer, the former Vogue features and fashion news editor, is celebrating her one year anniversary as the editor-in-chief of the New York Times' T Magazine. New York Magazine sat down with the editor for a pretty enlightening interview in which she talks about her thoughts on photo retouching, the nuttiness that is street style now, and what it was like to work at Vogue. Here are the best nuggets from the interview:
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Sally Singer, the former Vogue features and fashion news editor, is celebrating her one year anniversary as the editor-in-chief of the New York Times' T Magazine. New York Magazine sat down with the editor for a pretty enlightening interview in which she talks about her thoughts on photo retouching, the nuttiness that is street style now, and what it was like to work at Vogue. Here are the best nuggets from the interview:
Photo: Getty

Photo: Getty

Sally Singer, the former Vogue features and fashion news editor, is celebrating her one year anniversary as the editor-in-chief of the New York Times' T Magazine. New York Magazine sat down with the editor for a pretty enlightening interview in which she talks about her thoughts on photo retouching, the nuttiness that is street style now, and what it was like to work at Vogue. Here are the best nuggets from the interview:

On the original portraiture in T:

I don’t want to do the kind of portraiture that involves references to Old Hollywood, or taking people who are glamorous and making them more glamorous in obvious or iconic ways. I feel that that works better in other publications where you have to up the stakes on everything in creative fantasy. I don’t think people come to the Times for fantasy. I think they come to the Times because the world is really interesting to them and they want to see the world looking beautiful but interesting.

On photo retouching and the overtly sexy fashion photography now:

I don’t think [retouching's] sexing it; I think it’s the opposite. How do you make a picture that conveys life and drama when the photographer, instead of interacting with a subject on a shoot, is interacting with a computer screen? And if you have that much control over what you’re shooting as a photographer or a stylist, how do you get a surprise? How do you move beyond what you thought you were going to get? Because every time you look at the screen, you know what you got and you’re out.

On telling stories through fashion:

It’s a wonder and a privilege to be able to think about [fashion]. And it has a kind of magic to it. Even people who read the Times that never thought about it should find some pleasure [in it].

On fashion wait lists:

I don’t even know how to. I wouldn’t be that organized to get on the waitlist, but if I decide that that’s the shoe I want, that’s the shoe that I want. And I know that I do want that [Chanel]shoe from resort.

On street style:

The particular circus around the shows is, to me, a bit of a comic mess at this point. I see people who I know have borrowed clothes, who are purposely dressing in ways to get photographed, but are not expressive of themselves or of the season or of anything. It’s the same drive that has people doing reality TV, kind of personal branding, you know? And a desperate attempt for sort of quasi-celebrity. And I think it’s adorable when it’s really young people because I think, why not?

On the people she hires:

I like people who are interested in fashion or design or travel or books far more than anyone should be. Where, even if they didn’t work in it, at some point during the day, their brain clicks over to it. And who are interested in it beyond how it affects them. There are people who work in fashion because they look fashionable, but then there are people in fashion because, even if they had to spend the rest of their lives wearing only a pajama, they’d be thinking about what other people would be wearing.

On whether or not she was limited at Vogue:

I never felt like my wings were clipped at Vogue. I always thought that at Vogue I did everything that I wanted to do that was right for Vogue.