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

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  • Chanel A/W 2012

    Karl’s collection was a layered look with clean lines and architectural proportions.  There was a lot going on with a feast of colour and texture, and crystal and gemstone embellishment, so in contrast the hair was slicked straight back and pulled into shiny straight ponytails – strong and sexy, it was aerodynamic hair.

    See the runway shots at Vogue.com
    See the show video

     

  • Vivienne Westwood A/W 2012

    Vivienne called the collection ‘London’ and wanted the make-up to be inspired by iconic 17th century religious paintings.  For the hair I did a heavily textured ‘lived in’ and modern take on Victorian London, taking two bits of the hair from the front, twisting them back and folding them loosely.  Short hair was given a Fagin-esque urchin feel.

    The runway shots at Vogue.com  and Viviennewestwood.com
    See the show video here

     

  • BALMAIN A/W 2012

    Balmain’s customers  go to great lengths to make it look like they haven’t really tried, and this was the vibe of the show.  The collection was inspired by the ornamentation of Faberge eggs, so in contrast the hair was kept really simple – freshly washed and left to dry naturally, what I call ‘naked’ hair.  Think laid back free-spirited biker girls taking off their helmets and shaking out their hair, a bevy of everyone’s favourite models including Anja Rubik, Joan Smalls and Karlie Kloss working that  “I’m with the band” look.

    See the show video
    See the runway shots Vogue.com

     

  • Mugler A/W 2012

    Nicola Formichetti and Sébastien Peigné’s inspirations for this collection were insects (an homage to Thierry’s 1997 Insects collection) and the symmetry and graphic stylization of Asia. So it felt the right time to bring on the  ‘Tokyo face-lift’ – an ultra-tight, lacquered, sumo-style knot on the back of the head, with bum-skimming ninja ponytails hanging down the back. For some of the girls we added tiny black fringes.  Chop chop!

    See the runway shots: Vogue.com
    See the show video

  • DSquared2 A/W 2012

    DSquared’s show was all about the homecoming queen.  To a fabulous early sixties soundtrack this was hair for the girls who wanted to catch the eye of the bad boys – think a modern, sexy take on Tamla Motown hair.  So lots of back-combing and bee-hives!

    More photos at Vogue.com
    Pre-show video and runway here

  • Blumarine A/W 2012

    Blumarine’s show was young, bright and fun, styled for the kind of girl who knows what she wants and how to get it. This was Alpha hair for Alpha girls – centre partings, a little oomph at the top, simple yet very modern and confident.

    More backstage photos at Vogue.com
    Watch the show video

  • Fendi A/W 2012

    ‘Grecian twist’ is how Karl Lagerfeld described my look for the Fendi show, the press instead saw the models as powerful warrior women but for me I was channelling more of an austere, Victorian northern woman.

    The girls all had strict gelled centre partings with rope braided bunches, two of which crossed over the front and top of the head.  With lots of cling film on hand to keep the braids intact, it took five hours to prep 35 girls.

    More backstage photos at Vogue.com
    Watch the show video

  • Clements Ribeiro A/W 2012

    View Clements Ribeiro’s full show report on Vogue.com and watch Sam McKnight working his magic backstage.

  • Topshop Unique A/W 2012

    In contrast to the military-inspired, utilitarian feel of the collection the hair was kept really feminine, young and fresh – lots of natural texture and light movement with a kind of rawness in the haphazard partings.

  • Mulberry A/W 2012

    This show was all about texture and referenced inspiration from ‘Where The Wild Things Are’ and Tim Walker’s film ‘The Lost Explorer’  – so the hair had a St Trinian’s/wood nymph vibe with messy braids of  inverted corn rows and a certain amount of ‘foof’ as if the girls had slept on the forest floor.