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



    The look is clean and smooth, so hair should be kept fresh with very minimal evidence of product

    Start with freshly washed and conditioned hair

    Apply a medium hold hair mousse to the roots of the hair, if your hair is naturally wavy or curly you should add mousse through the lengths of the hair too

    Brush or comb the hair back, moving hair slightly to one side. But take note, you are not making a side parting

    Blow-dry ends straight and smooth down with hair straighteners

    Once all the hair is dry and smooth, divide hair at the back of the head into three and cross the two side sections over the centre section, as if starting a braid




    Use a large barrette or clip to hold hair at the centre of the fold – ‘X’ marks the spot!

    You can use fine pins to secure any short layers.

    Secure with high shine hairspray






    Even though the finished look was a wig, careful prep went into wrapping hair before. It is important to wrap hair flat and at the nape of the neck. Wrapping at this part of the head means that you keep the top of the head small and, thus, the wig becomes instantly more convincing.

    Black wigs where cut to make sharp geometric bobs with wide fridges

    The backs of the wigs were cut away to show a black wig cap covering the nape of the neck and the models’ own hair




    The hair had a gritty, salty lived-in texture with low side-partings that swept across the forehead

    Apply a texturizing spray to freshly washed and conditioned hair, create a low side parting and allow the hair to fall over the forehead

    Give a quick blast of heat, before applying a second layer of texturizing spray to give the hair a light gritty texture

    Tuck the hair sweeping across the forehead, behind the ear and add some fine grips to secure and stop hair from falling over the face




    Hair is lightly tonged for a relaxed, nonchalant, typically British ‘cool girl’ effect.

    Apply a light mousse or styling spray to damp hair and dry

    If your hair is naturally wavy then you can leave it to dry naturally

    If you have curly or fine hair first blow-dry smooth, then using a medium-sized curling iron, take random sections of hair and twist down the barrel

    Hold until hot and then leave to cool before brushing

    Add more texture to the hair by using a very light pomade or wax




    Dyed black, choppy wigs had a futuristic feel

    Models’ hair was wrapped around the head for a tight-fitting silhouette

    The wigs were cut short around the hairline and then pinned in behind the ears, with long fringes that fell over the eyebrows

    Only the roots of the wigs had product so that the rest of the wig remained soft and with movement, with the roots crimped and ends left straight





    The hair was set in a very classic way to create a soft glamorous 1950’s look

    Start with freshly washed and conditioned hair

    Apply a medium hold mousse or styling spray evenly throughout hair

    Blow-dry smooth using a round bristle brush (to avoid damaging the hair through excessive heat-styling, rough dry the hair first until it’s 70% dry, then use the pure bristle brush to smooth the hair, section by section)

    Using a curing iron then take small sections of hair and wrap smoothly around the iron. Hold until hot and then clip the curl in place to let it cool and set and repeat

    The sides of the head are usually divided into five equal sections, three behind the ear and two in front. If your hair is thick, then this might change to four and three

    Alternatively use small heated rollers in the same configuration firstly along the centre of the head and then the sides

    Heated rollers will need more time to cool but have the added advantage of giving you time to do other things while your hair sets.

    Once the hair is cool, remove rollers/hair clips and brush the hair back using a Denman brush, teasing the roots at the crown

    Using an open brush will help keep the set curl in the hair.

    The ends of the hair are left to fall into soft waves on either side of the head.






    Apply a strong hold gel to damp hair and comb through with comb

    Part the hair low on one side of the head, combing the rest of the hair up off face and gathering the lengths at the nape of the neck

    Secure tightly with elastic

    Twist the hair in the ponytail and wrap it up tightly into the base of the ponytail

    Secure with pins and grips




    First, hair is blow-dried smooth with a medium hold mousse, with hair parted in the centre of the head.

    Braid both sections back away from the face towards the back of the head

    Finish the ends of the hair into two ponytails

    Wrap the ponytails into the back of the head and secure with pins and grips






    Apply a medium-hold smoothing mousse or styling spray to damp hair and blow-dry smooth using a large round bristle brush

    Use a metal tail comb to create a sharp low parting in the hair just above the arch of the eyebrow

    Apply a small amount of styling cream to the hair on the top of the head to hold any fine flyways

    Spray ends of hair with water to activate natural texture in the lengths or lightly wave with tongs

    Apply thick pomade to the parting to hold a fine layer of gold leaf and apply gold leaf down the middle of the parting, setting with a hairdryer on a low setting




    Freshly wash and condition hair.

    For straight hair, blow-dry (without using any products) and then tong using a medium sized curling iron to give the hair a light wave

    For curly hair, blow-dried straight using a small amount of medium-hold styling mousse, then lightly waved using a medium-sized curling iron




    Once set, backcomb each section at the base of the ponytail, leaving the curls intact at the lengths

    Pin all the hair section by section forward, creating voluminous chignon on the top of the head




    Use a hair net or scarf placed around the hair, spray with a strong holding spray and use a hair dryer to fix the surface.



    These were soft waves styled on a glamorous jet-set traveller


    Apply a salt spray, strong styling mousse or styling spray to dampen hair and dry

    If your hair is naturally wavy then you can leave it to dry naturally

    If you have curly hair first blow-dry the hair smooth

    Then using a medium-sized curling iron take random sections of hair and twist down the barrel.

    Hold until hot and the leave to cool before brushing.

    Give hair added gutsy texture by using a dry texturizing spray in the lengths