Sunday, November 20, 2016

Hair by Sam McKnight

Rizzoli has published a new book by award-winning, hair stylist extraordinaire, Sam McKnight.

In “Hair,” McKnight highlights some of his most famous coifs and shares the secrets behind them, from Princess Diana’s gamine crop to Kate Moss’s rock-chick bedhead.

This cut for Diana, Princess of Wales created by McKnight, was one that women suddenly wanted - you saw it everywhere. The iconic image of "Lady Di" in a black turtleneck with short hair, resting her chin on her hands, was the Vogue magazine cover in December 1991.

She had just stopped biting her nails and was so proud of how they looked!

Kate Moss and McKnight have done 30 Vogue covers together — including this shot, by photographer Nick Knight. But there was one that almost went awry. They flew to St Barts for three days and the airline lost McKnight’s luggage with all his styling tools, so he had to improvise.

I found a spray bottle at the hotel, filled it with sea water and used that, along with a bit of backcombing, to give Kate a beachy Bardot look. You couldn’t tell and, indeed, salt sprays became a popular way of getting a beachy look a few years later!

When this picture was taken, Cindy Crawford was just about the most famous model in the world.

With this 1993 look, McKnight wanted to take her away from the all-American big hair she was known for — and she rose gamely to the challenge of this side-swept, masculine style.

Back in those days, there wasn’t anything like the number of products we have today — we used a solution of sugar and water, or even Coca-Cola, to get hair to stay put! It would have been utterly impractical in real life — you’d have wasps buzzing around — but, for shoots, it was perfect.

And if you’re in London, England from now through 12 March 2017, visit Somerset House for a major exhibition celebrating Sam McKnight's remarkable 40-year career from the late 1970s to the current day.


  1. I'm trying to organise a trip to see this as we speak - I shall resist the temptation to spray my hair with Coca-Cola in honour of the occasion, however. Jx

    1. JON: We don't want to read a headline in the Daily Mail, "Man Makes Spectacle of Self at Spectacle as Wiglet Winds Up Wasps" so please take care that you don't.

    2. To avoid the misfortune of ever appearing in the Daily Fascist, I will heed your sage advice and stick to sea-water. Jx

    3. If you go to the exhibition, we'd love to hear about your experience.

    4. If I do go, have no fear that I will spill the beans on all the "boyish crops, tousled tresses and blockbusting glamour". And wind machines, of course. Jx

  2. (this is lame, sorry)

    i'll use diet coke; i'm watching my weight...line.