When it comes to creating iconic hairstyles, Sam McKnight is, if you’ll pardon the pun, a cut above. Credited with creating such lasting looks as Princess Diana’s slicked-back style, Agyness Deyn’s blond crop and Madonna’s Bedtime Stories cover, the in-demand mane maestro and Pantene Global Ambassador also lists Vogue, ELLE and Harper’s Bazaar among his many clients.
At recent runway shows, McKnight oversaw hair direction for Dsquared2, Chanel, Balmain, Vivienne Westwood, Moschino Cheap and Chic, Blumarine and Mulberry. He recently chatted via telephone about what’s new for hair this season, going green and how a large bag of wigs can solve a multitude of problems.
What are the big hair trends this fall?
There are four main trends that emerged for fall. The first is what I call “future folk,” which is a bit hippie and folksy. Next is “dress-up,” a look that harkens back to the 1960s and has lots of volume; think dramatic beehives. Another trend that I worked with [at the shows] is “sleek technique,” which is very technical and slick and is almost masculine. Finally, we have “easy chic,” a perennial trend and sort of the go-to look of the decade. At Balmain and Blumarine, I did natural-looking hair that was tousled and shiny but not overly finished.
Is there anything that’s definitely out this season?
You don’t see as many curls around for fall. What is evident is a more controlled and defined curl that’s slightly 1920s in feel.
Have curls had their moment?
They have been usurped by bobs and bangs and unusual colour this season. But they’ll be back.
What do you mean by unusual colour?
I did [wigs that were] sharp, structured bobs in fake colours [pink, green and purple] for the latest Chanel resort show. And I recently did a shoot with bright red and yellow hair; it looked very chic.
What’s the most common request you receive from celebrities?
The thing I am asked for most across the board is versatility and volume. They want to be able to change from a sharp chignon to a voluminous blow out in an hour; it’s not one look.
And that translates to real life, because women now are getting used to changing their look every day.
How can you create a voluminous look at home?
The trick is not to layer too much product, but to go with one light product that won’t weigh down your hair. After washing your hair, gently sponge it dry with a towel from roots to ends, then [get into] the classic upside-down position and dry your hair starting from the nape of the neck and brushing downward. This will make your roots stand out and give the impression of loads of volume.
Who are your hair icons?
At the moment, I’d say it’s Lady Gaga. But looking back in history, I’d say Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall and Linda Evangelista.
Special to The Globe and Mail This interview and has been edited and condensed.