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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    READ ALL ABOUT IT

    There are few artists as gifted as Sam in the worlds of Hair and Fashion”, says designer Karl Lagerfeld in the foreword of Hair by Sam McKnight, the Rizzoli book by Sam that launched in tandem with his Somerset House exhibition of the same name. A beautifully crafted tome, it’s become somewhat of a collector’s item already, not just for its iconic cover of Kate Moss (an image photographed by Nick Knight for British Vogue’s December 2000 issue), but for all the amazing images that lie inside: think of the portrait of Princess Diana with short and slicked back hair; countless images of all The Supers: Linda, Christy, Naomi, Cindy and Claudia; to shoots with the modern day muses Karlie Kloss, Lindsey Wixon, Lady Gaga and Karen Elson – and that’s even before you reach the chapter dedicated to Kate Moss styled in a myriad of ways. With notes from Sam throughout, the book is a behind-the-scenes insight into the world of fashion over the past 40 years. An anthology of fashion, beauty and culture since the late 70s, it brings together Sam’s archive in a way that shows the evolution of hair and style across the decades, as well as his handiwork. In a generation where so much of the imagery we digest is downloaded onto our handset, there is something truly luxurious about sitting down and leafing through the pages of this book.

     

    To buy the book, click here

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    A NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM

    Somerset House: the chosen venue for Hair by Sam McKnight, the exhibition celebrating images and examples of Sam’s work from the late 70s through until today. Walk through the historic venue’s Embankment Galleries and take a guided tour through Sam’s world. As one of the first session stylists to carve out a career for himself solely in fashion, the exhibition presents an archive not just of Sam’s work, but of the fashion industry as a whole, with editorial shoots and catwalk looks as well as behind-the-scenes footage, private photographs and archived accessories from throughout the years. Grouped in thematic sections: you will find, for example, two rooms, each dedicated to the fashion houses of Westwood and Chanel respectively, and each with mannequins dressed in pieces from various looks from throughout the seasons and complete with specially commissioned wigs and headpieces. You’ll also find a section dedicated to the late Princess Diana, with fond mementos of hers and Sam’s friendship, as well as a room showcasing the 100+ Vogue covers that Sam has collaborated on – which, by the way, is more than any other stylist. Taking a journey through the Sam’s archive wouldn’t be complete, though, without a dedication to his more recently discovered passion for photographing flowers, images of which close the Somerset House experience.  To see Hair by Sam McKnight is a truly immersive event and it’s almost not enough to go once, because go multiple times and you will see something each time that you didn’t notice in the previous instance. It’s the first exhibition of its kind to recognise hair for its transformative power in some of the most iconic images of our generation.

     

    To book tickets or find out more click here 

  • Vogue May 2003

    A Winning Formula

    The December issue of Vogue sees another collaboration between Sam McKnight, Kate Moss and the British fashion bible. “I think I have done around 80 covers for British Vogue, around 20 of these are with Kate”, said Sam. “I’ve worked with Kate more than any other model or celebrity over the years and she has become a good friend. As well as being a great beauty and model with unparalleled versatility, Kate’s a great person to hang out with, so a shoot with her is always going to be memorable one”. See here his hand-picked absolute favourites.

  • Allure Magazine Sept 2013-1 2

    A Life In Hair

    Lady Diana’s Vogue shoot, a slab of meat on Lady Gaga’s head, a short blonde Evangelista crop, blue wigs at Chanel Couture… These are just a few of the hallmarks of Sam McKnight’s career heroed by Allure in their six-page retrospective on his life and work. In what was a different twist on the usual formula for a nostalgic feature, the editorial also included a newly commissioned story with model Hilary Rhoda, shot in New York by photographer Terry Tsiolis. “The last time we worked together was for the second issue of Allure over twenty years ago, so here we go again!”, said Sam. Read the full editorial in the gallery.
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    Vogue’s Monday Makeovers

    There is no sugar-coating it – Monday can often be the hardest day of the week to get back into the swing of things after the weekend. For those looking for inspiration for their beauty look for the week, American Vogue have commissioned a series of new videos, entitled ‘The Monday Makeover’, for their YouTube channel to provide food for thought. Featuring looks from various hair and beauty creatives including make-up artists Hannah Murray and Yadim, Sam was asked to contribute a series of hair looks to motivate. See here the first two videos show-casing a modern, mussed-up chignon and a romantic braid, taking the standard how-to video to a whole new level.

    Subscribe to more Vogue videos here

     

     

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    A Model Model

    Ever wanted to know what a life-sized bronze model of Kate Moss would look like? Look no further than this cover of Pop Magazine, featuring Kate in a sculpture created by iconic artist Allen Jones. She was photographed as part of a project for an auction at Christie’s, Kate Moss, From the Collection of Gert Elfering, a celebration of Kate being the ultimate modern muse. The auction raised over £1.5 million pounds in total, with this sculpture, A Model Model, reaching £133, 000 alone. Sam created the hair for this shoot, saying “it was shot in Allen’s home studio in Clerkenwell. He has been a hero of mine ever since I started, so I was thrilled to meet him and his wife and see some of his artwork at home”.

    Read more about the auction on Vogue.com here

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    Oh, Michelle

    This month sees Michelle Williams as the new face of Louis Vuitton in latest ad campaign for Autumn/Winter’s 2013-14 collection. Showcasing two new handbags – the W and the Capucines – the campaign was shot by the iconic Peter Lindbergh in London’s Spring Studios. With Sam McKnight on styling her hair, Nicola Clarke working on hair colour and Stephane Marias on make-up, the result was modern, sharp and super stylish. “Michelle was an absolute pleasure to work with”, says Sam. “She walked into the shoot and her hair was a bit longer. She told me she had just started to grow it out, but she let me cut it an inch without hesitation and I gave her a new shape – long at the front and short at the back. Nicola also worked to make it blonder. It was tombish but soft and feminine all at the same time.” Balanced against her rich, wine–stained mouth and dark, bold brows, Michelle’s look is the perfect exercise in ‘Punk Couture’, one of the most prolific trends from the Autumn/Winter runways.

    See the full campaign here

    See behind-the-scenes video from the shoot here

    Shop the collection here

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    SEPTEMBER ISSUE

    The all important September issues have hit the shops and standing out amongst them, is the new issue of British Vogue, with model Daria Werbowy, hair styled by Sam McKnight. Daria has been off the modelling scene for some time, but in her tell-all interview with Vogue‘s Features Director, Jo Ellison, she talks about the trials and tribulations of modelling and why she is making a comeback. Photographed by Patrick Demarchelier and styled by Vogue‘s Fashion Director, Lucinda Chambers, the shoot captures her rebellious style, of which her hair plays a great part. Speaking of the shoot on the day, Sam describes, “I hardly had to do a thing to her hair. She walked in looking great – so typically Daria – so I didn’t want to change much. I washed it, dried it upside down with ghd’s Air hairdryer and tonged the front section, just to give it a bit of an extra bend. I then worked some Magic Move texturising balm into the ends to smooth it out, but really I worked more on set, than in the hair and make-up room – just constantly moving and manipulating her hair to make it look its dishevelled best”. This is model-off duty hair, on-duty. Welcome back, Daria.

    See the full editorial here
    See more pictures of Daria in Vogue here

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    Summer Hair 101

    Gracing the cover of Allure magazine is Miss Moss, she with the most covetable of hair. What’s so good about her style is that it never looks dated, and is always modern and cool. But her style really comes into its own during the summer months when beachy texture is most wanted. How to get The Kate? Sam says: “This look is all about the prep work. Whether you blow-dry it or let it dry naturally, it’s always best to use a volumising product – I recommend Pantene Volume & Body Mousse. It will get volume into the roots and expand hair’s width”. Then onto the tongs: “With Kate we tend to use medium barrelled tongs from half-way down the hair – literally just pop the tongs in and out so it’s just a glance of heat, leaving the ends out so they are a bit straight”. The key to this look though, is that once the bulk of the hair is tonged, the front should be blow-dried flat so it’s very natural and organic looking. “This keeps it looking cooler and less done”, explains Sam. All that is needed to finish is a lighting misting of hairspray – you don’t want it to look too done – and there you have it – cool summer hair à la Kate.

    See Kate’s Allure Editorial for inspiration here

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    Chanel A/W 2O13 Campaign

    Chanel’s new ad campaign sees the return of a much-loved format: photographer, Karl Lagerfeld; hair stylist, Sam McKnight; make-up artist, Peter Philips; stylist, Carine Roitfeld. So what’s new? Her name is Ashleigh Good, the tough and androgynous model from New Zealand (alongside models Chiharu Okunugi and Soo Joo Park), who has been catapulted to high-fashion fame after her first appearance at Givenchy last season and who is Karl’s new muse. In keeping with the space age theme of the collection (remember the silver globe the models march around at the show in Paris?), Karl wanted the hair to be straight and to float, but, as Sam explains, the finished look came about by way of happenstance: “I was straightening out Ashleigh’s hair, and then half way through the finished look, when it was straight like a board and jutting out at an 45 degree angle, Carine stopped me and said she loved it just like that. It worked perfectly to have blunt, un-brushed texture and high shine to fit the futurised theme”. Sam used Sebastian Professional’s Forte Hairspray before running over the hair with a GHD eclipse styler. This is the new way to wear hair straight, people. It’s straight but it’s got volume. What’s not to love?

    To see the whole shoot click here

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