Sam McKnight is one of the most accomplished and well-respected hair stylists of his generation. Being one of my most searched instagram profiles, I wanted to take the time to dedicate a blog post to him and all of his fabulousness! Check him out, I dare you to be inspired:
A celebrated high-fashion session hair stylist, Sam McKnight boasts a celebrated career spanning over four decades encompassing catwalks, editorials and advertising campaigns for an extensive list of clients. Chanel, Fendi, Balmain, Burberry and Tom Ford are just a few of the top fashion houses McKnight regularly works with. He is regular contributor to Vogue (internationally), W, Dazed & Confused, Harper’s Bazaar, i-D, Love & Numéro magazines.
First Look Hair @ Somerset House Exhibition
I had to document the relation to mannequin wigs in relation to Big Wigs Workshop, I mean if a worldwide sensation of his time is involved in the art I teach doesn't that make the Hard Cap Wig world that little bit more exciting! I mean..... I'm completely obsessed with the imagery below!
Click the above link to see Vogues coverage of Sam's exhibition @ Somerset House!
In November 2016, Somerset House launched Hair by Sam McKnight, an exhibition documenting his career. McKnight also released his first book, Hair by Sam McKnight, which showcases his numerous Vogue covers, editorial shoots and overall experience working in the fashion industry.
The show cleverly explored how the fashion industry blurs multi-billion dollar industry with art. Vogue covers from only a few years ago become artistic artefact, 190 of them lined up across two walls to show how extensive is McKnight’s influence. The effect is pure pop-art. Mixed-media makes the exhibition a variable feast to walk through, hinting at the power of technology that is presented as a change maker in the industry, as social media transforms images into snapshots that, in McKnight’s fearful words, ‘can be tapped, ‘liked’ and discarded in seconds. An exhibition that strays close to being a shrine to hairdresser and hairdressing emerges as a bid to document and preserve the ‘golden age’ of the industry.
The 20 mannequins supplied for the exhibition form part of two major sections; one dedicated to Sam’s collaborations with Vivienne Westwood and the other, showcasing his ongoing relationship with Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel. Each section has been immaculately presented with original garments loaned by both designers. Included are a series of Karl Lagerfeld’s original design drawings and the infamous blue platforms responsible for Naomi Campbell’s dramatic fall at Vivienne Westwood in Paris (1993).
Bonaveri also supplied Aloof heads that are used to present some of Sam’s featured work in dramatically lit glass recesses.
Blue Studio, the UK Distributor of the show, worked with exhibition curator Shonagh Marshall and exhibition designer Michael Howells in creating the mannequins for the event. Whilst the focus is very definitely on the hair, the mannequins provide the context in which the styles were created and first seen.
"Sam McKnight, whose flexible fingers and sharp scissors have produced the runway hair for numerous key brands, from Prada and Anna Molinari in the 1990s to Fendi and Chanel today, is an image-maker in his own right." Lou Stoppard, SHOWStudio
Interview with Sam McKnight.
(Business of Fashion- linked up below: got up and close personal with Sam a few years back. Yourl notice he mentions Lagerfeld- may his beautiful creative soul rest in perfect peace)
What excites and inspires you when thinking of a new look? It's always exciting before the next season's shows, when I meet the designers to discuss ideas and inspirations. Karl Lagerfeld always sends me beautiful sketches as a starting point and we just take it from there.
What hairstyle has been the most challenging? When I started Instagramming my wig pics, I gave the pics the name of a song, although that is not law. I think the first one was 'Hello. Is It Me You're Looking For?' I try to keep up the humour as it's all a bit of fun really. I mean, what else can you do when you've done the hair on a shoot, waiting for makeup, and there's 4 bags of wigs to play with? Resistance is futile! Well it is for me anyway!
Do you have names for your many different looks? I don't have names for the looks, but some of the comments are hysterical. Each wig brings it's own challenge, for instance when we had to cut, dye and prep 55 wigs for the last Fendi show, the night before the show it was decided they should all be black. We used a lot of bleach to clean the hotel suite the next day!