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

Premier Hair and Makeup
t: +44 (0)207 221 2333
f: +44 (0)207 221 2444

Design & Production by M/A
News Editor Jessica Hogan

  • image


    You can put Kate in couture, or you can put Kate in nothing at all, and either way, she will look incredible. Case in point, the new St Tropez campaign, where Sam did the hair, Val Garland the make-up and Nichola Joss the tanned skin. “My brief was to have Kate very natural with her signature rock chick layers. With one swift flick of the comb and a dab of hair cream, I gave her hair a Newton-esque glamourous look to show off her tan poolside”.

    Read more about the new collaboration here
    See the whole campaign here
    Browse the St Tropez collection and see the backstage videos here

  • image


    All aboard the Chanel train. The train that never stops moving as it journeys through the world, showcasing the diversity and international appeal of its collections. Apart from the usual Ready-to-Wear being shown in Paris, Chanel’s global capacity has seen its Pre-Fall and Cruise collections showing in Scotland’s Linlithgow, Shanghai and Bombay to name but a few. The next stop was Singapore. Sam was creating boyish, fringed chignons for a slightly edgier take on the Chanel aesthetic. “Karl wanted a simple but tough look for this collection, so we tucked away the girls’ hair into chignons and then flipped the ends forward to create a long side-swept fringe”, he explained. His make-up counterpart, Peter Philips, in tandem created a tough two-tone blue and black liner to give the girls even more punky attitude. With the opening of The Met’s new exhibition, “Punk: Chaos to Couture”, this week, it seems as though the punk trend is here to stay. Get on board.

    To read the show review and see the collection, click here

    To see Sam’s guest blog on, click here

  • image

    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

  • Image courtesy of

    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

  • image

    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

  • image

    Chanel: Haute Couture Continues

    A shoot in Karl Lagerfeld’s studio in Paris the day after Chanel’s Haute Couture show, is only ever going to be just as magical as the show. And indeed it was, with the proof being the images from the Numero fashion shoot, which was photographed by Karl himself, including the actual forest set from the Grand Palais. Styled by Numero founder and editor-in-chief, Elisabeth Djian, Sam also worked with make-up artist Peter Phillips on uber model Natalia Vodianova and the directive was to make her look just as gorgeous as she was when she walked in the door – just a little bit more enhanced. Sam gave her hair a light run through with tongs, before working in some Batiste dry shampoo for extra texture.

    To see the full editorial, click here.

  • _MG_0674

    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
  • download-5

    CHANEL A/W 2013

    It’s a wonderful, wonderful world. Especially when you’re in the world of Karl Lagerfeld for his Ready-To-Wear Chanel show, watching models walk around a giant, glittering globe in Paris’s Grand Palais. As usual, Sam was part of the backstage beauty team, creating the hair look for the iconic show. Working alongside make-up artist Peter Philips, the collection dictated the beauty, inspiring lashes and eyelids being sprinkled with gold glitter to mirror the metallic threads that ran throughout the collection and chain chokers acting as the graphic accents to models’ “done but undone” hair . With lengths being tucked into these necklaces (and then again into shirts, scarves and collars), the detail lay in the definite centre parting and mirror-like shine that came from the model’s poker straight hair. Autumn/Winter ’13, it’s a wrap!

  • image


    “Vivienne knew straight away how she wanted the hair to look for the show”, explained Sam, “she is such a visionary, she has no fear to do anything”. Accordingly, he created what he called “plastic plaits”, weaving in plastic garment bags from her store into braided hairstyles inspired by the medieval crusades theme of the collection. To get the plastic to stay, it was imperative that the style had hold, so he treated hair to a coating of Pantene Volume and Body Mousse, so that it had extra bite. Make-up artist Val Garland also took her cue from the middle ages, and recreated “medieval madness” in full colour on the face. In true Westwood style, it was a ‘no holds barred’ approach to beauty. Speaking of the look, Sam mused, “it looks great – everyone loved the idea straight away”. With bag braids and painted faces, what’s not to love?

    See the official backstage video here

    See Elle UK’s backstage beauty review here

  • image

    Balmain A/W 2013

    Oh, to be a Balmain girl… Embellished, glitzy and irresistibly chic. This season, the collection was more high-octane than ever, with a strong 80s influence, resulting in metallic brocade, big shoulders and power silhouette shapes. The constant? Sam’s usual “just there, nothing kind of hair”, but with a ramped up twist in the form of a slicked back masculine makeover. This girl is a rock and roll rich bitch and she’s not afraid to show it.

    See the show on here
    Read the backstage review on’s Beauty Counter Blog here