Sam McKnight is one of the most accomplished and well-respected hair stylists of his generation. His name is synonymous with modern, sexy hair - whether it's in magazines, on the runway or the red carpet.

He's won countless awards but perhaps the biggest accolade is the longstanding creative collaborations he has maintained with some of the best names in the business - Patrick Demarchelier, Nick Knight and Mario Testino; Karl Lagerfeld/Chanel, Vivenne Westwood, Balmain and Fendi to name just a few.

In the fleeting world of fashin imagery Sam's permanence is fixed in some of the most iconic images in modern history - Princess Diana's short, slicked back style, Agyness Deyn's bleached blonde crop, Madonna's Bedtime Stories cover, Cate Blanchett getting her Oscar, Tilda Swinton channelling Bowie, both Lady Gaga and her male alter-ego Jo Calderone plus countless covers and editorial stories of Kate Moss and all the supermodels.

The longevity of Sam's carrer career - over 30 years - provides a fantastic back-catalogue of references to bring to his work and it is this and his search for the new that keeps him so in demand.

SHOWstudio - Sam McKnight Interview

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Design & Production by M/A
News Editor Jessica Hogan

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    Chanel A/W 14

    Calling all shoppers. This is an announcement to say that Chanel’s show this season was an absolute triumph. More theatre than just catwalk, Karl Lagerfeld had the Grand Palais transformed into a giant supermarket, complete with Cara, Linsey, Stella et al shopping the aisles for their Chanel produce (they had everything from cheese, to paint, to detergent, to doormats, all emblazoned with the eponymous double ‘C’ logo). So what for their make-up and hair? Eyelids were painted in primary brights infused with metallics and Sam created these exaggerated ponytails woven with tweed, pearls and camellias in true Chanel style. Speaking backstage, Sam said, “I blew up the proportions and detail of the ponytail, incorporating crimped extensions, braided hair in multi-coloured Chanel tweed rags, lace and pearls. I used Fudge Salt Spray, then Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray to create a dry volume, which was then crimped randomly, woven and braided with the Chanel fabrics, and fastened at the base with one of the woven braid”. Chanel dreadlocks? Just watch how the masses will follow…

    See the video of the shopping extravaganza here
    Read the backstage beauty review on Style.com here
    See each look in the full collection here

     

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    Emanuel Ungaro A/W 14

    With a new creative director at the helm, Fausto Puglisi, Ungaro embarked on a new era this season, with sharp tailoring, bold prints and a sleek feminine silhouette in the form of split pencil skirts, form-fitting trousers and accents of leather. Sam was creating a strong, but natural, hair look in tandem, via a graphic center parting and long lengths that had been gone over with the ghd eclipse for a smooth, high-shine finish.

    See the backstage beauty report on WWD here
    See the entire collection look by look on Vogue.co.uk here

     

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    Vivienne Westwood A/W 14

    Ah, Dame Viv. You can always expect the unexpected from her and her collections. And for her Gold collection show this season the look was every bit as outlandish as you might predict, but with a beautiful tribal spin. With make-up ‘face paint’ by Val Garland, who took her cues from the Peruvian tribe and the first couturier Charles Worth that inspired Vivienne’s collection, Sam was creating two distinct looks with the hair: the first an explosion of corkscrew curls, and the second a small head with a high-shine hair wrap. The final flourish? Some had a feather headdress – a true Vivienne accent.

    See French Vogue’s backstage beauty images here
    Watch the show’s video here

     

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    Isabel Marant A/W 14

    “Undone rather than overdone” was Sam’s motto backstage at Isabel Marant this season, which has long been the backstage beauty look that resonates so well with beauty editors and fashion editors alike (who doesn’t want to look like an Isabel Marant girl?). With dishevelled hair and barely there make-up, Isabel Marant is a show where you can expect “cool, sexy, French style”. How? By prepping with L’Oréal Tech.ni Art Mousse, putting in random bends with curling tongs and then misting through with Bumble & bumble’s Dryspun Finish Spray. Then team with chunky knits, oversized shoulders, slouchy trousers and fur-lined boots and you are all set for winter, the Isabel Marant way.

    See the full collection and show review on Style.com here
    See more of Sam’s backstage pictures on his exclusive guest blog on Vogue.co.uk here

     

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    Dries Van Noten A/W 14

    Fact: Dries Van Noten loves a side parting. Season after season he chooses to have his hair be different variations on a theme – and who can forget the gold leaf foil laced through a side slick last season? This season Sam chose to give the side step more of a Fourties feel in the form of Veronica Lake waves pulled up off one side of the face with an oversized silver barrette and twisted up into a faux-bob. Texture played an important role in creating the look, with Fudge Salt Spray and Oribe Dry Texturising Spray being used to prep hair before it was tonged into a set wave and brushed out for soft retro waves. Easy Dries-y.

    Read the show review from the New York times by Suzy Menkes here
    See each look from the show on Vogue.com here

     

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    Fendi A/W 14

    “Made in Italy” was the theme for Karl Lagerfeld’s Fendi show in Milan this season. Why? Because it’s the best place in the world for artisan detail, said his show notes. So it was more than fitting that Sam created these ‘basket weave’ wraps around the head that ended in a straight and low ponytail, in keeping with the “Lines of Purity” prompt that Karl gave to Sam when he presented him with a sketch of how he wanted the beauty to look (as he does with each of his shows).

    See Sam’s guest blog and pictures from the show on Vogue.co.uk
    See the runway review and full collection pictures on Style.com here

     

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    Anya Hindmarch A/W 14

    What would be London Fashion Week without a little bit of fun, fashion spectacle. Step forward Anya Hindmarch, whose catwalk (yes, even accessories need a catwalk) was one giant barcode, which she sent her models down carrying Tony the Tiger (from the Frosties packet) and the Kellog’s cockerel emblazoned bags, as well as other accessories that looked like Digestive biscuit packets and Ariel washing-up liquid. Sam and Val Garland teamed up again to create a strong beauty look to complement. “It was modern day Stepford Wives”, said Sam. “These women were all perfect clones of each other shopping in the supermarket”. Hair was scraped back off the face, before ends were given a once-over with the GHD Eclipse styler for a perfectly straight and blunt look.

    Watch the video of the show here
    Read the write-up on Vogue.co.uk here

     

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    Paul Smith A/W 14

    Paul Smith: the purveyor of British cool. Step forward an effortlessly chic aesthetic for a true ‘London Girl’, best explained through the messy ponytails created by Sam. Texture was key to the look with Sam working Bumble & bumble’s Dryspun Spray (already a season favourite) into mid-lengths and ends, with a slight bend put in with his trusty GHD Eclipse styler or some large barrel tongs. “This texture creates the character of a real woman”, he said backstage. And to that end, he pulled out wisps from the hairline to give the added effect of a woman on the go. All that is left is to throw on a gilet, pop on some sunglasses and this girl is ready to hit London town. Rule Britannia.

    See the Paul Smith show look by look on Vogue.co.uk here
    Read Tatler’s Backstage Badger blog about Paul Smith at London Fashion Week here
    Watch the video on Paul Smith’s World here

     

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    Marios Schwab A/W 14

    Marios Schwab’s hallmark is a minimalist, clean, uncomplicated but impossibly chic approach to dressing. So too, for the beauty look that goes with the collecton, with Sam on hair, coiffing half the models with hair distressed and down, the other half with mussed-up ponytails, and ‘raw’ make-up by the wonderful Val Garland. Speaking backstage Sam explained, “the most important thing is to have the same texture running through the girls’ hair, whether its up or down”. This girl is real, she is herself and that’s what makes the fashion and beauty at this show so alluring: its accessibility. Next season has never been so now.

    See the collection on Vogue.co.uk here
    Read the beauty write-up on Harper’s Bazaar here

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    CHANEL COUTURE SPRING 2014

    Amongst all the drama and theatre that is often associated with Haute Couture fashion week, Karl Lagerfeld continued to push boundaries to produce a fashion show that not only incorporated a live band, bum bags, shin pads and corseted waistlines, but in addition, not one model was in a high heel. Each girl had her own pair of Chanel trainers to match what she was wearing (we defy you to not want a pair for the new season). Teamed with intergalactic crystallised liner by Peter Philips on the underside of the eye (another out-of-the-ordinary decision to the usual lining of upper lashes)it was, all-in-all a rule-breaking show. Sam’s hair was equally reinventing the wheel, with spikes of hair forming a graphic halo around the head, and then 10 girls with just wet-look gelled back hair: ”When I saw the trainers, I knew I wanted to put hair up in a sporty but graphic way – so we sewed spikes of hair onto hairbands and teamed with a couple of wound around braids”
    See the video of the show here
    See the each look on Style.com here
    Read about the show on Vogue.co.uk here
    See Sam’s exclusive blog images on Vogue.co.uk here
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