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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News Editor Jessica Hogan

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    Moschino Cheap & Chic A/W 2013

    Say hello to the biggest trend emerging for the new season: punk. Seen here at Moschino Cheap & Chic, and as the name might suggest, it was most definitely a chic take on the trend. “I am calling this punk couture”, announced Sam when describing the mussed-up knots he was tying backstage. “They are a little bit spiky, a little unfinished, but still beautifully feminine”. Three models were treated to a flash of pink extentions for an extra rebellious effect, but the best part about this look is how easy it is to recreate: “twist and tie hair into a knot with a thick black elastic band that is deliberatly visible – it’s super simple”, Sam explained. Who ever knew punks could be this pretty?

    Read Sam’s guest blog for on the look here
    See the whole collection here on

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    Mulberry A/W 2013

    It would seem that the Mulberry girl has grown up… Gone are her playful plaits, ruffled and undone after a night out on the tiles (as seen last season),  and  instead her hairstyle has taken a turn into the more beautiful, refined and ladylike with these sophisticated blow-dries that oozed health and luxury. “We wanted the girls to look more polished than other seasons”, explained Sam. “This was real life hair, with an expensive-looking twist”. Accordingly, it was middle-partings all around, a smooth blow-dry that was then finished with quick tonging to bring a slight bend into the hair for a natural waves. The look was then topped up with a bit of Supremo Magic Move balm to make it look ever-so-slightly lived-in, before the lengths were tucked away into the big collars and roll-necks on offer in the collection. Super chic.
    Take a closer look at the collection on here
    Get the backstage low-down on Mulberry’s very own blog here
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    Chanel Haute Couture Spring/Summer ’13

    Welcome to the world of fantasy: the wonderful world of haute couture. Amidst the scene of an enchanted forest, Karl Lagerfeld showcased the next installation of Chanel Couture in Paris. With a 5.30am call-time and 53 models to get through, make-up was by Peter Philips, which involved beautifully intricate lace and net appliqués acting as eyeliner, set against porcelain skin. Hair by Sam, was a loose and undone chignon piled high up onto the head. “I had heard Karl mention A Midsummer Night’s Dream as the inspiration for his collection at the fitting”, says Sam. “And then once I had seen the forest set, I got totally inspired and knew immediately what I wanted to do. The hair was light and airy, deconstructed and whimsically falling out. It was toasty warm in the backstage area, but bitterly cold at the front of house, so the girls all huddled in the heat until the very last moment that they had to go out onto the runway”. They must have been dreaming of a midsummer’s night all the while…
    See more pictures from Sam on his guest blog on here.
    Read the review of the show in the Telegraph here.
    Watch the video of the show here.
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    Chanel Metiers d’Arts Pre-Fall 2013

    It has been described by Alexandra Shulman on as “magical” and the Vogue Editor-in-Chief even took to twitter to say how much she liked the hair. Chanel’s Pre-Fall 2013, Metiers d’Art collection in Edinburgh’s Linlithgow Palace has been a triumph. Inspired by Mary Queen of Scots (the show did take place in her birthplace after all), Karl’s collection fused tartan, tweed and theatre. For the hair, Sam created two looks, the first of which was homage to Queen Mary, on 18 girls. Hair was braided, frizzed, padded and pinned – a process which took an hour for each girl. The more simple second look for the rest of the girls was boyish braids, which were used to frame the face. All looks were piled with jewels, which were carefully planned the day before to make sure they sat perfectly in the style. Peter Philips, Global Creative Director of Chanel Make-up, framed eyes with double swooshes of black liner were set against velvety matte skin for a modern twist. Long live the Queen.

    See AnOther Magazine‘s interview with Sam on how he created the look.
    Take a look at Sam’s guest blog on about the show.
    Read’s review and see the images of the entire catwalk show here.

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    CHANEL S/S 2013

    The Chanel show is always the pinnacle of Paris Fashion Week for editors but it’s no mean feat to organise and produce. The roll call for the ‘eco’ show involved 70 models in the Grand Palais walking around huge solar-panelled wind turbines and took a week to prepare.
    Hair by Sam was soft, natural and light to the touch in contrast with the exact centre parting that accented the low little knot he was creating. The lengths of the hair were folded into the nape of the neck and casually spun into a loose twist, then held in place with Karl’s finishing touch to the hair, an enormous Chanel pearl. As ever, it’s the little finishing touches that set this show apart from all the others. What could be more chic?
    Read’s backstage review on the hair and make-up here.
    See the entire collection here.
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    “Global exotic” was the theme behind Vivienne Westwood’s Gold Label show in Paris. So Sam styled hair in a way that expressed this season’s inspiration, whilst staying true to the quintessentially eccentric British style that has come to be expected – and loved – where Vivienne’s shows are concerned. Each of the models had a slightly different look, but they all fell into two main camps. The first being the slicked back, more sporty masculine style, for which Sam used Pantene’s Ultra Strong Mousse to blow dry the hair away from the face, and then layered on the Damage Defence Conditioning Spray into the sides for a weathered, wet-look effect. It is usually a mask, but for today’s show it was turned into a styling product, such is its versatility. The second group of looks, were the more wild, out-there styles which were an homage to the afro and the way in which African women so exquisitely style their hair. For this, Sam played with shape and texture, setting the hair into pin-curls before brushing them out into big, blown-out styles. The theme for the show also centred around a message that is very close to Vivienne’s heart, which is global climate change, and you can read about it all on her personal blog, ‘Get A Life’, here.
    See the show review on here.
    Elle UK give their backstage beauty review here.

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    BALMAIN S/S 2013

    Plait attack! Our favourite Balmain girl gets a sporty makeover this season with a loosely braided ponytail that exudes ‘cool’ thanks to an easy, undone texture, which is integral to her very nature of being. This season, the clothes are even more embellished and couture-like than before (if you could ever imagine that was possible, they are always so exquisite), therefore a sportier, no-fuss hair look perfectly complemented this.

    So whilst you’re saving up for the hefty investment that a show piece might cost, recreating the hair look at the show needn’t be easier. Simply tie hair into a ponytail bang in the middle of the head and plait the lengths. Wisps and flyaways encouraged.

    See the full collection on here.
    Read what’s Beauty Counter Blog thought of Sam’s braiding.

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    MUGLER S/S 2013

    There is a more natural, sexy, urban feel to the Mugler girl this season, but she is still true to her roots and acutely other-wordly, in an ‘alien goddess who came to earth, danced all night in a club, got sweaty and now looks a little bit dishevelled’ (expertly put in Sam’s words).

    The key to creating this look was texture. Sam created a wet-look (i.e. sexily sweaty) effect using a concoction of SACHAJUAN Hair Mousse and Phyto Phytolaque Hair Spray on the crown and front section of the head, before setting hair into a very low severe side-parting which coyishly fell over one eye. Teamed with spooky smoky eyes and a beautifully ghostly collection of clothes, it’s fair to say the whole look was out of this world.

    Read the show review on here.
    See what Nicola Formichetti has to say about Sam’s Instagramming in his interview with Into The Gloss.

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    DSQUARED2 S/S 2013

    There, the trend crops up again… The Nineties were a key reference backstage at Dsquared2. But this Nineties girl was a flirty biker and an homage to the brilliant stylist Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele, who Sam has worked with for many years and who happened to be in the audience watching the show. The brief for the hair was succinct: Slick, straight and super shiny. So Sam drenched hair in Pantene Heat Defence Spray and Leave-In Conditioner for a high-octane, glossy finish that swished and flicked as the models strutted their stuff down the runway.
    But Sam’s work was not kept behind-the-scenes, both him and make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury were brought front of house for a rare appearance, as designers Dan and Dean created a mock shoot set-up to kick the show off. Lights, camera, action!
    See the collection in its entirety on here.
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    FENDI S/S 2013

    Colour, craft and creativity. The three words that embodied the Fendi collection for Spring/Summer 2013. As an extension of his designs, Karl created bright, metal-embellished headbands to complement the clothes (that included beautiful pastel leather) and was very specific about wanting an aerodynamic head shape for them to sit on.
    Sam created architectural, deconstructed French pleats, for which he used the Rolls-Royce’s ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ mascot as his inspiration. The texture used to create the style was very important – it was shiny and ever-so-slightly damp, care of Frederic Fekkai’s Marine Summer Hair Beach Waves spray. Given that the fabric eyeliner stuck on by make-up artist Peter Philips was cut from a neoprene swimsuit the beauty look as a whole embodied the feeling of sporty couture.
    See the colourful Fendi collection here.
    See the Beauty Counter review on Sam’s style.