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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    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.

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    ICEBERG S/S 2013

    Iceberg has the hippie, rock chick look down to a tea and this season was no exception.
    Feeling that there was a lot of colour and print in the collection, Sam wanted the hair to stay true to the identity of the ‘Iceberg’ girl, whilst keeping the look luxe and chic. He created a look that was simple, classic and Nineties, but with a contemporary twist. On clean hair, Sam created crisp middle partings and instead of twisting the lengths into chignons or a low ponytail, hair was tied at the nape of the neck and then rolled back on itself before being secured into a loop-the-loop with black elastic. Seeing as the Sixties are proving to be so in vogue this season, why not do the twist and try this for yourself?
    See the collection on here.
    Read what Elle UK thought of the look here.
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    MOSCHINO S/S 2013

    Moschino paid homage to the Sixties for Spring/Summer ’13, meaning that the trend, which has popped up in New York, London and now Milan, is gaining some serious momentum.
    The show’s stylist and Vogue Nippon Editor-at-Large, Anna dello Russo, wanted the beauty look to be synonymous with the collection, so following her directive Sam and his team arrived bright and early for the 5.30am call-time to tease and backcomb the 33 models’ hair into side-swept, half-up, half-down chignons. Prepping hair with Pantene’s Ultra Strong Mousse, Sam then backcombed hair with earnest, before pinning and sealing the whole look with a generous amount of Pantene Ultra Strong Hairspray.
    The hair was very big, very Sixties, a little bit Lana del Rey and a lot Raquel Welch. They say the higher the hair the closer to heaven… Today, the Moschino girls were just heavenly.
    See the look on here.
    Read about a day in the life of Milan Fashion Week with UK Marie Claire.
    Read the backstage report from’s Beauty Counter blog.
  • Mulberry 13

    MULBERRY S/S 2013

    You can always expect something good from the hair (as with the whole collection) at the Mulberry show, no matter the season. Forever pretty and wearable, it’s always a quintessentially British style that real women will want to recreate.
    This season, Sam created a variation on the braided theme that he has been developing for some seasons now, offering messy, falling out chignons, all of which had one plait woven in about half-way back towards the crown – where a headband would sit. The beachy texture and braid added a modern and cool touch to this classic style. As the winter season fast approaches, the braid/ chignon combination is the perfect way to control unruly locks, that can be prone to rain-induced frizziness, then, of course, come next summer the style will work just as well.
    Disclaimer: Sam did not coiff the hair of the giant poodle that also sauntered down the catwalk…
    Read the show review on
    See Elle UK’s views on Sam’s work at Mulberry here
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    LOUISE GRAY S/S 2013

    There was a massive back-combing frenzy backstage at Louise Gray in the Topshop venue in London’s Bedford Square. In what was a tongue-in-cheek take on ‘good girls, gone bad’, the collection was themed around punk, the Eighties and LA rockabillies.
    As a result, Sam and his team teased hair into prim but unproper, nest-like updo’s. Sure, the basis of the look was the classic chignon, but to nod to the ‘bad girl’ that Louise briefed Sam on, the look was pulled out, collapsed, mussed-up, lopsided and each one was slightly different. It was chic, but almost accidental. Atop of the crazy ‘dos were off-the-wall hat creations by amazing milliner, Stephen Jones, that included cut-out bows and speech bubbles,
    These ladies have fallen from grace…. But, boy, do they look good.
    See what the Topshop team had to say about the look here.
    What did the Elle Beauty Team think of the look? Read all about it here.
    See the full show collection on
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    Imagine being in Africa in the Seventies, but with a little bit of East London thrown in for good measure – that was the inspiration behind the hair style Sam was creating backstage at Moschino Cheap & Chic. For the second season, Moschino is showing in Sam’s hometown and again is one of the hot tickets of London Fashion Week.
    To play up to the super chic Seventies safari theme, Sam was creating a voluminous, fluffy, aerated look. Hair was set into a low side-parting before Pantene Pro-V Classic Care Mousse was combed through from root to tip to create a pliable base for the small braids that were then added by Sam and his team to create a soft crimped effect. To speed up the setting process, the braids were clamped with flat irons, but to recreate this at home, braid hair when damp and sleep on it! Once the braids had set, they were brushed out and hair was left to its own devices. There was strictly no hairspray applied past this point to encourage movement and wispy flyways. Easy, breezy, Moschino C&C
    See what the girls at BeautyMART had to say about Sam’s look here.
    Read the show review on here.
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    For the Clements Ribeiro show in London this weekend, the reference was Suzy Bishop (played by teenage star Kara Hayward) from Wes Anderson’s romantic movie Moonrise Kingdom. The result was a soft, faux-bob pulled up off the face with two clear plastic hair slides.
    To create the look, Sam braided away sections of the models’ hair to take away thickness, so that it was easier to pin up. The lengths were then wrapped around these hand-made hair ‘sausages’ which acted as supportive stuffing to the style. With an abundance of hair grips, the bobs were anchored in the ‘sausage’, before the Goody slides were added, creating a side sweep that had an aura of the Thirties era about it. Accessorised with aqua blue eyes or retro-style sunglasses, this was a style that was girly, cute and effortlessly stylish.
    See Sam’s guest blogging for here.
    See the Clements Ribeiro collection here.
  • Vogue Flowers lead

    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