10 Things You Didn’t Know About Sam McKnight

Sam McKnight is a legendary hairstylist known for his innovative and glamorous work in the fashion and beauty industry. With a career spanning over four decades, McKnight has styled the hair of countless celebrities, worked on iconic editorial shoots, and collaborated with top designers. While his name is synonymous with hair mastery, there are still some intriguing and lesser-known facts about this hair maestro. Let’s delve into the world of Sam McKnight and uncover 10 things you probably didn’t know about him.

1. His Career Started in the Late 1970s

Sam McKnight’s journey in the world of hairstyling began in the late 1970s when he assisted the renowned hairdresser Leonard Lewis. Little did he know that this opportunity would be the stepping stone to an illustrious and influential career. McKnight quickly made a name for himself within the industry, showcasing his exceptional talent and unique artistic vision.

As his career took off, McKnight’s distinctive creations caught the attention of prominent fashion photographers such as Patrick Demarchelier and Mario Testino, leading to collaborations with high-fashion magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. McKnight’s avant-garde styling and ability to push boundaries soon placed him at the forefront of the fashion and beauty world.

2. Hair Transformations for Iconic Figures

Sam McKnight has an unparalleled ability to transform the appearance of iconic figures, giving them new and memorable looks. One of his most notable transformations was the sleek, cropped hairstyle he created for Princess Diana. The famous “Princess Di cut” became a global phenomenon, inspiring countless women to replicate the elegant and modern style.

Moving from royalty to music legends, McKnight has also worked extensively with pop icon Madonna. From edgy short cuts to stunning updos, McKnight’s collaboration with Madonna has resulted in some of her most memorable hair moments. He has also worked with stars like Kate Moss, Lady Gaga, and Cate Blanchett, solidifying his status as a go-to hairstylist for the world’s most influential figures.

3. A Symbolic Collaboration

Throughout his career, Sam McKnight has maintained a fruitful collaboration with renowned designer Karl Lagerfeld. The creative partnership between the two icons began in the late 1980s and continued until Lagerfeld’s passing in 2019. Together, they crafted countless looks for Chanel runway shows, including intricate hairstyles adorned with ornate accessories.

McKnight’s ability to interpret Lagerfeld’s vision and create hairstyles that complemented the designer’s collections contributed to the overall artistic narrative of each show. The unique synergy between these great minds resulted in some of the most memorable runway moments in fashion history.

4. The “Blonde Hair Ambition” Project

In 2013, Sam McKnight undertook an ambitious personal project called “Blonde Hair Ambition.” Inspired by the overwhelming popularity of blonde wigs among fashion models, the project aimed to create an innovative and diverse range of blonde hairstyles suitable for various skin tones.

McKnight collaborated with talented wigmakers and colorists to develop a collection of 20 distinctive blonde wigs that could be used on fashion shoots and runway shows. The project celebrated diversity and challenged the conventional beauty standards associated with blonde hair, pushing the industry to embrace inclusivity.

5. Environmental Activism

Sam McKnight is not only recognized for his trailblazing hairstyles but also for his commitment to environmental sustainability. In recent years, he has taken steps to reduce his carbon footprint by implementing eco-friendly practices in his work.

McKnight actively participates in projects supporting the reduction of plastic waste and the use of sustainable materials. He frequently collaborates with environmentally conscious brands and uses his platform to raise awareness about the importance of preserving our planet.

6. A Book Celebrating Hairstyling

In 2016, Sam McKnight released a book titled “Hair by Sam McKnight,” featuring a culmination of his most extraordinary works throughout his career. The book showcases his collaborations with designers, photographers, and models, providing an intimate look into the world of high-fashion hairstyling.

With stunning visuals and personal anecdotes, “Hair by Sam McKnight” is a testament to his unparalleled talent and innovative approach to hair. It serves as an inspiration for aspiring hairstylists and fashion enthusiasts alike.

7. Redefining Elegance with Chanel

Sam McKnight’s collaboration with Chanel has been instrumental in redefining elegance and femininity in the fashion world. Working closely with Karl Lagerfeld, McKnight played a pivotal role in creating the iconic Chanel aesthetic, which combined traditional elements with contemporary flair.

With his expertise, McKnight transformed the models’ hair into sleek chignons, chic bobs, and intricate braids, complementing the refined silhouettes of Chanel’s designs. Together, they established a new standard of sophistication that continues to influence the fashion industry.

8. An Exhibition at Somerset House

In 2016, Somerset House in London hosted an exhibition dedicated solely to Sam McKnight’s work. Titled “Hair by Sam McKnight: Photographs, 1978-2015,” the exhibition showcased his remarkable contribution to the world of fashion and beauty.

Visitors had the opportunity to explore McKnight’s iconic hairstyles through a curated selection of photographs, magazine editorials, and behind-the-scenes glimpses. The exhibition allowed attendees to appreciate the artistry behind hairstyling and understand the immense impact of McKnight’s work on the industry.

9. Creativity Beyond Hair

While renowned for his hairstyling prowess, Sam McKnight has also expanded his creative horizons beyond hair. He has collaborated with prestigious beauty brands, such as CHANEL and Vidal Sassoon, to develop innovative haircare and styling products.

In addition, McKnight has ventured into photography, capturing the essence of his unique vision through his lens. His photography work has been featured in various publications, including Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, further demonstrating his artistic versatility.

10. Awards and Honors

Sam McKnight’s immense contributions to the fashion and beauty industry have garnered him numerous accolades and honors. He was awarded the British Fashion Council’s Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator in 2017, recognizing his outstanding creativity and influence.

Furthermore, he has received an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for his services to hairdressing. These prestigious accolades are a testament to McKnight’s profound impact on the world of fashion and his unwavering dedication to his craft.

Sam McKnight is not just a hairstylist; he is an artist whose work has left an indelible mark on the fashion and beauty industry. From his groundbreaking collaborations with industry icons to his environmental activism, McKnight’s creativity and passion continue to inspire and shape the future of hairstyling.

Useful Links:

Official Website
Vogue – Sam McKnight Articles
Somerset House Exhibition