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


    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


    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 


    Sam has been crowned ‘Session Stylist of the Year 2013’ by hair magazine,Creative Head’s, Most Wanted Awards. Set at the beautiful venue of The Natural History Museum, the awards are recognised as one of the most prestigious in the industry of hairdressing. With five hairdressers nominated in this category, the finalist is ultimately chosen and voted for by the industry’s top beauty editors, each choosing who they think is “the most exciting hair stylist working in fashion”. Speaking the morning after, Sam said, “It was such an honour to be recognised by the hairdressing industry and a great opportunity to see all the new young emerging talent too”.

    For more news on the night and to read about the other winners, see the Most Wanted site here

    See applaud Sam for his win here

  • Breaking News

    Breaking news for the world of hairdressing in the form of Sam being announced as the new Global Creative Director of GHD. This campaign image, styled by Sam and shot by iconic photographer Rankin to show the versatility of the new eclipse styler, is just the first in a long line of artwork that will come as a result of the collaboration. Speaking about this new partnership, Sam says, “I’m really excited to be collaborating with GHD on their electrical tools, starting with the new Eclipse. And watch this space because I’ll be working on some new stuff too!”. A good day for hair? We think so.

  • Natural Beauty

    After years of shoots and shows, it’s not often that a hairstylist is forced to work without his tools, but that was the case for Sam on his most recent cover shoot – for Vogue, no less. Shot by Patrick Demarchelier in St. Barts, with Vogue’s Fashion Director Lucinda Chambers and model Kate Moss, the whole crew arrived at the airport with no luggage – it hadn’t made the transit in Paris. Sam and make-up artist Val Garland had to use what they had: Val, the make-up in her handbag and Sam, the water from the sea. Speaking of the shoot Sam explains: “The airline had lost everything and it wasn’t going to arrive until the day we were leaving, so we had to make do. I simply put some sea water in a spray bottle, spritzed some into Kate’s hair, let it air dry, backcombed the roots and then ran my fingers through it. Kate being Kate, just rose to the occasion and let her natural hair texture do the talking”. Who ever said that fashion shoots need to be high-maintenance? Sometimes just a bit of DIY does the trick – and to gorgeous results.

    View the whole shoot here

    Read Sam’s Interview with about the shoot here

  • Vogue Festival Fun

    This weekend saw the second annual instalment of the Vogue Festival at the new and improved venue of the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall next to London’s Royal Festival Hall. Two days packed full of guest speakers such as Victoria Beckham, Donatella Versace, Alber Elbaz, Michael Kors, Natalie Massenet, Mario Testino, Sam was asked to be part of a panel of speakers interviewed by Vogue’s editor-in-chief Alexandra Shulman, for one of the most popular talks, “Behind the Scenes of a Vogue Cover Shoot”. Also taking part in the panel was Vogue’s Fashion Director, Lucinda Chambers, make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury and model of the moment, Cara Delevingne, all of whom worked together on the now iconic Cara cover for this year’s March issue, and all of whom were shot by photographer David Bailey backstage for the magazine’s archive. Speaking of the day, Sam said, “it was a little daunting to be on stage speaking at the QE Hall, but Alexandra made us all feel comfortable and Lucinda’s stories had us in hysterics. Cara was sweet and chatty and Charlotte and I rambled on like only hair and makeup can. When it was all over, we said: ‘Oh was that it? When can we do it again?’. Same time again next year?

    Read all about the Vogue Fesitval and see video footage of the talk, here

    Watch the talk in full here

  • Sam’s Selfies

    Instagram. Good for scenic pictures and beautiful filters, but even better for having a bit of fun – especially when on shoots and backstage at shows. Case in point, the stir that Sam’s tongue-in-cheek self-portraits, or ‘selfies’, on Instagram have been causing. Catching the attention of Into The Gloss blogger Emily Weiss, she loved his pink windswept fringe… Which one is your favourite?

    Read Emily’s Into The Gloss article here:

    Follow Sam on Instagram on @SamMcKnight1

  • An Evening With Sam McKnight

    Fresh from the shows, Sam spent an evening at The Coterie (a members-only club for the hairdressing industry), being interviewed by ex-Vogue Beauty Director and co-founder of shopping concept BeautyMART, in front of a small audience of his peers. In a question-and-answer session with Anna-Marie, Sam talked about Princess Diana, wanting to style the Queen’s hair, Kate Moss’s wedding, his endless amounts of shoots and how Twitter has changed the way the industry works. Sam also demoed three looks he has created for the runways from Chanel Pre-Fall and Couture, as well as Fendi A/W ’13.

    For more images from the day and excerpts of Sam’s quotes from the night, read more on The Coterie’s website here
  • Darling Buds in Vogue

    Sam is currently featured in British Vogue’s October issue for the feature detailing his love for colour, flowers and his garden; Darling Buds.

    Having seen the Twitter and Instagram updates that Sam regularly posts about flowers, colour and their influence on his inspiration behind his work, British Vogue came to interview and photograph Sam in his beautiful garden for the feature. You can see the results (and images from Sam’s garden) on p197-8 of the current issue.

    For more tweets follow Sam on twitter or see an example of my floral photos on instagram

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