Career Insights: Sam McKnight speaks with Elizabeth Barnett Lawton

by | Apr 2, 2021

The British Beauty Council’s fourth episode of the Career Insights podcast features legendary hair stylist Sam McKnight, listen to it now on ACAST, Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Sam McKnight boasts a legendary career spanning over four decades, and encompassing catwalks, editorial and advertising campaigns for fashion houses such as Chanel, Fendi, Balmain, Burberry and Tom Ford.  He is also a  regular contributor to both British and international VoguesWHarper’s BazaarVanity Fairi-D and Love, he has over 200 covers to his name from British Vogue alone.

McKnight has collaborated with some of the world’s most prominent photographers including Patrick Demarchelier, Mario Testino and Nick Knight.  A long-time stylist for the late Princess Diana, McKnight was the creative behind her iconic short, slicked back hairstyle in the now-famous 1990 Demarchelier shoot for British Vogue, a partnership that led to him becoming her personal hair stylist for seven years.

Born in Scotland, McKnight is one of the most influential session stylists in the world. He became one of the original session stylists after training in a small Scottish salon, before moving to London in the early 70s, where he secured a position at Molton Brown, which at the time was a leading hair salon in London’s South Molton Street. While working in London, he was introduced to stylists Liz Tilberis (British Vogue and Harpers Bazaar US) and Lucinda Chambers (British Vogue), who were instrumental in hiring him for high-profile editorial shoots.

Referred to during this episode of Career Insights, Hair by Sam McKnight was a major exhibition celebrating McKnight’s impressive career, which took place in 2016 at Somerset House. In tandem, McKnight also released his first book: Hair by Sam McKnight (Rizzoli), a hardback anthology of his magazine covers, editorial shoots and personal insights into working at the heart of the fashion industry.

In June 2017, McKnight launched his range of hair products Hair by Sam McKnight, in Liberty London. The collection is now available to buy from a range of physical and digital retailers including Cult Beauty, Net-A-Porter and Selfridges.

McKnight has many accolades to his name, in 2015 he was bestowed the Lifetime Achievement Award at both the Scottish Fashion Awards and Creative Head Awards. In 2019, he won the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator at the British Fashion Awards; and only this week he was crowned a Most Wanted Legend at the Creative Head Most Wanted Awards 2020.


Listen to Episode 4 to find out more about Sam’s inspiring career journey, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and ACAST.

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