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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    DSquared2 AW/14

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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
    See the runway review and full collection pictures on 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 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 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 here
    Read the beauty write-up on Harper’s Bazaar here

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    Vivienne Westwood AW/14

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    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 here
    Read about the show on here
    See Sam’s exclusive blog images on here
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    Screen Siren

    Chanel’s Metiers d’Art collection showcased in Dallas wasn’t just the unveiling of the new collection. It was also the big reveal for Karl Lagerfeld’s first film, ‘The Return’, which details Coco Chanel’s comeback to fashion after not being so well received in Paris, but being well received in the Americas in the 50s. The film stars Geraldine Chaplain as Coco herself and Amanda Harlech as US Vogue editor Bettina Ballard. But one of the surprise roles was Sam, who played the British majordome (butler) that Coco wanted to marry for companionship. Speaking of the role, Sam said, “it was incredibly fun… But let’s just say I am not giving up the day job”.

    See Sam’s on screen debut and the full film of ‘The Return’ here

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    Destination Dallas: Chanel Metiers d’Art 2013

    The Chanel Metiers d’Arts show is always a fashion ‘moment’ and last year’s show in Scotland’s Linlithgow Palace is certainly a tough act to follow – but Dallas, Texas, did not disappoint. Chosen by Karl for the reason that Coco Chanel had a long affiliation with the state after she was awarded the Distinguished Service in the Field of Fashion Award by Neiman Marcus in 1957, it was perfectly fitting that he should be presented the same award – for the second time – the day after the show. The collection, set in a reconstruction of a traditional rodeo, was a celebration of the deep South: tassels, feathers, cowboy hats, boots and shirts, Navajo prints with references to Native American Indians and, of course, the Wild West. For hair, Sam was inspired by spaghetti Western movies and created a “modern cowgirl” look, which involved a bow made out of extensions tied low and loose onto a thick ponytail. “Karl sent a sketch before the show saying he wanted a bow to feature in the hair”, said Sam backstage. “It’s Western-inspired but to make it modern, we made the bows out of hair”. Texture was distinctly lived in. In the fitting the day before the show, Sam prepped models’ hair and then instructed them to sleep, and not wash it out.The next day, the day of the show, he then created an extra dusty texture with a misting of Oribe Dry Texturising Spray, also putting haphazard bends into lengths with GHD’s Eclipse iron, for and extra bit of dishevelling. Ornate extras included hand painted feathers and bejewelled clips attached to some girls’ ponytails, but artisanal touches also featured as part of make-up artist Peter Philips’s look, as he brushed gold and silver wet-look eyeshadows onto the temples to create a warrior-like effect that also resonated nuances of the fashion house’s signature tweed. They say that everything is bigger in Texas… It doesn’t quite get bigger – or better – than Metiers d’Art.

    Read more about the show here

    Read Lisa Armstrong’s review in the Telegraph

    Read American Vogue’s review of the show

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    CHANEL S/S 2014

    The season ended on a high for Sam at the behemoth show that is Chanel. Never one to disappoint, designer Karl Lagerfeld turned Paris’s Grand Palais into a giant art gallery for his Spring/Summer ’14 show. Part of the artistic vision were the blonde, brown and black wigs created by Sam (hot on the heels of his love affair with wigs in Milan at Fendi), no less than 80 masterpieces whose texture reflected that of a paintbrush. “All the winged bobs were sculpted and teased into a brushy texture, a surreal touch to Karl’s show”, explained Sam. The wigs, which took four days to create, were then cut and fit to each model’s head so that they perfectly suited each girl. Combined with Peter Philips’s colourful brush-stroke make up, it’s fair to say that this beauty look is a work of art.
    Watch the show here.
    Read Sam’s guest backstage blog from Chanel here.
    See’s backstage Beauty Counter blog here.
    See the collection on here.