111ICONS: SAM MCKNIGHT

Sam McKnight

111ICONS: SAM MCKNIGHT

Interviewed By: Nateisha Scott

Interviewed By: Nateisha Scott

Sam McKnight is known as the expert hairdresser that many aspire to be. His career spans across four decades that have seen the likes of Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and the iconic Princess Diana.

111SKIN champions and celebrates game changers and innovators in leading industries. Each discussion uncovers the insight and knowledge into their individual approach and within the 111ICONS interview, we share their journey, business and approach to life.

Sam McKnight is known as the expert hairdresser that many aspire to be. His career spans across four decades that have seen the likes of Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and the iconic Princess Diana. Sam McKnight is a leader, innovator and creative that has landed him the most Vogue covers in history for hair and worked across international publications such as W, Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair, i-D and Love. Collaborating with many of the leading photographers of the time, Patrick Demarchelier, Mario Testino and Nick Knight, Sam has crowned his style and knowledge and even curated his own hair product brand. Sharing his journey, we discuss the approach to hair and what’s to come.

NS: How has your role and career evolved over the years?

SM: Well, I came to London in 1975 and worked at Molton Brown for the early part of my career, this was a time when Molton was the place to get your hair done and styled. It was actually through Molton that I was sent out to work on Vogue photoshoots and that is where my career took off.

NS: Why editorial over working in the salon?

SM: Personally, there was a magic that was created on set, the people, the atmosphere and the constant change. I had reached a point where the salon wasn’t inspiring me the way editorial was. It was from my Vogue shoots that I was then sent out to New York and signed with Bryan Bantry, it went from a planned few weeks to spending most of my years in the 80s and 90s based in New York.

NS: You have watched the industry grow, how has it changed?

SM: At the time, in the early days, fashion was like a trade show, it wasn’t open to the general public and as soon as the press had access, that is when the runway really took off. As the 90’s hit, that was when things transformed for the industry, along came Naomi Campbell and the fellow 90’s supermodels and changed the runway. I, Mary Greenwell, the girls, we all grew up together both on the runway and at the Vogue photoshoots.

NS: Has anyone inspired your journey or been an inspiration in your career?

SM: Definitely Vogue magazine and the people I worked with. I’ve seen 5 different versions of Vogue magazine with each new EIC, from Beatrice Miller to Edward today (he’s great by the way) – It has been truly inspiring seeing the evolution of Vogue.

NS: If you could choose just one, what is the highlight of your career thus far and why?

SM: The people! Princess Diana, Karl Lagerfeld, Vivienne Westwood, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell.

NS: Speaking of Princess Diana, what was your fondest moment with her and how would you describe her legacy?

SM: There were so many touching moments, but I do remember when we travelled with her to see Mother Theresa in Calcutta. It was such a phenomenal experience that I could never forget, it affected me in a way that I will always treasure.

NS: Another icon that you worked with was Karl Lagerfeld, what was it like working with him for Chanel? What did you admire most about him?

SM: He was so charming, unique, polite and generous and he always made you feel welcome. He would always greet and say goodbye to his team and that truly was the most treasurable moments, being part of his team and creating magic.

NS: What inspired you to launch your hair range (Hair by Sam McKnight), what are the plans for the future regarding the brand?

SM: I’ve been a consultant for many years and at the time I was coming across products that were very heavy on the hair. From my experience we want products that are light to layer, very simple, smell incredible and easy to style the hair with and let’s not forget looking great on the shelves. We formulate everything within the team, I wanted to create a unique formulation with the concerns and knowledge developed over our years of experience.

NS: For its future?

SM: We are currently in talks with investors for the next stage but expect products that will continue to prioritise the health and look of the hair.

NS: On to yourself now, what is the first thing you do when you wake up and last thing you do before heading to bed?

SM: As soon as I wake up, I will do 30 minutes of Yoga and stretching before taking a walk through my garden, it is my place of peace and contemplation.

NS: Do you have a favourite flower in your garden currently?

SM: Peonies however I always look forward to the blooming of my dahlia flowers.

NS: What is a typical day in the life like?

SM: There isn’t a typical day per say and that’s what I love most about my job, no 2 days are the same. I can go from having a day of meetings 10-6 and then shows from 5am until midnight.

NS: Do you have a thorough morning routine?

SM: I don’t have an indulgent routine, I find that when I apply too much on my skin, it will lead to breakouts and so I avoid anything too strenuous. I do exfoliate my forehead and pore extraction to remove any blackheads, but I also look after my psoriasis on my scalp with light moisturisers.

NS: How do you wind down in the evening?

SM: Often I read or listen to the radio but if I’m in the mood I will opt for some light TV.

NS: Where do you see the hair industry going?

SM: With this current climate, no-one really knows what to expect but it will definitely change how things are done and experienced. I will say that hair and beauty treatments will never die out as people will want to escape and they dream of looking and feeling good, we will have to adjust to the new normal.

NS: If you had to pick a hairstyle to have its moment again, what style would it be?

SM: I would love to see a polished hairstyle come back, for so long hair has been minimal and untouched but I would love to see a polished hair do once again.

NS: What things bring you joy every day?

SM: Tending to my garden.

NS: The best advice you have ever received?

SM: Keep your mouth shut! It’s definitely taught me to listen to other people.

Shop mask

SUB-ZERO DE-PUFFING ENERGY FACIAL MASK

SUB-ZERO DE-PUFFING ENERGY FACIAL MASK

SUB-ZERO DE-PUFFING EYE MASK

SUB-ZERO DE-PUFFING EYE MASK

SUB-ZERO DE-PUFFING EYE MASK

CELESTIAL BLACK DIAMOND LIFTING AND FIRMING TREATMENT MASK

ROSE GOLD BRIGHTENING FACIAL TREATMENT MASK

ROSE GOLD BRIGHTENING FACIAL TREATMENT MASK

ROSE GOLD ILLUMINATING EYE MASK

ROSE GOLD ILLUMINATING EYE MASK

Y THEOREM BIO CELLULOSE FACIAL MASK

Y THEOREM BIO CELLULOSE FACIAL MASK

ANTI BLEMISH BIO CELLULOSE FACIAL MASK

ANTI BLEMISH BIO CELLULOSE FACIAL MASK

SEASONAL MASTER-MASKING

SEASONAL MASTER-MASKING

Sam McKnight is known as the expert hairdresser that many aspire to be. His career spans across four decades that have seen the likes of Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and the iconic Princess Diana.

111SKIN champions and celebrates game changers and innovators in leading industries. Each discussion uncovers the insight and knowledge into their individual approach and within the 111ICONS interview, we share their journey, business and approach to life.

Sam McKnight is a leader, innovator and creative that has landed him the most Vogue covers in history for hair and worked across international publications such as W, Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair, i-D and Love. Collaborating with many of the leading photographers of the time, Patrick Demarchelier, Mario Testino and Nick Knight, Sam has crowned his style and knowledge and even curated his own hair product brand. Sharing his journey, we discuss the approach to hair and what’s to come.

NS: How has your role and career evolved over the years?

SM: Well, I came to London in 1975 and worked at Molton Brown for the early part of my career, this was a time when Molton was the place to get your hair done and styled. It was actually through Molton that I was sent out to work on Vogue photoshoots and that is where my career took off.

NS: Why editorial over working in the salon?

SM: Personally, there was a magic that was created on set, the people, the atmosphere and the constant change. I had reached a point where the salon wasn’t inspiring me the way editorial was. It was from my Vogue shoots that I was then sent out to New York and signed with Bryan Bantry, it went from a planned few weeks to spending most of my years in the 80s and 90s based in New York.

NS: You have watched the industry grow, how has it changed?

SM: At the time, in the early days, fashion was like a trade show, it wasn’t open to the general public and as soon as the press had access, that is when the runway really took off. As the 90’s hit, that was when things transformed for the industry, along came Naomi Campbell and the fellow 90’s supermodels and changed the runway. I, Mary Greenwell, the girls, we all grew up together both on the runway and at the Vogue photoshoots.

NS: Has anyone inspired your journey or been an inspiration in your career?

SM: Definitely Vogue magazine and the people I worked with. I’ve seen 5 different versions of Vogue magazine with each new EIC, from Beatrice Miller to Edward today (he’s great by the way) – It has been truly inspiring seeing the evolution of Vogue.

NS: If you could choose just one, what is the highlight of your career thus far and why?

SM: The people! Princess Diana, Karl Lagerfeld, Vivienne Westwood, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell.

NS: Speaking of Princess Diana, what was your fondest moment with her and how would you describe her legacy?

SM: There were so many touching moments, but I do remember when we travelled with her to see Mother Theresa in Calcutta. It was such a phenomenal experience that I could never forget, it affected me in a way that I will always treasure.

NS: Another icon that you worked with was Karl Lagerfeld, what was it like working with him for Chanel? What did you admire most about him?

SM: He was so charming, unique, polite and generous and he always made you feel welcome. He would always greet and say goodbye to his team and that truly was the most treasurable moments, being part of his team and creating magic.

NS: What inspired you to launch your hair range (Hair by Sam McKnight), what are the plans for the future regarding the brand?

SM: I’ve been a consultant for many years and at the time I was coming across products that were very heavy on the hair. From my experience we want products that are light to layer, very simple, smell incredible and easy to style the hair with and let’s not forget looking great on the shelves. We formulate everything within the team, I wanted to create a unique formulation with the concerns and knowledge developed over our years of experience.

NS: For its future?

SM: We are currently in talks with investors for the next stage but expect products that will continue to prioritise the health and look of the hair.

NS: On to yourself now, what is the first thing you do when you wake up and last thing you do before heading to bed?

SM: As soon as I wake up, I will do 30 minutes of Yoga and stretching before taking a walk through my garden, it is my place of peace and contemplation.

NS: Do you have a favourite flower in your garden currently?

SM: Peonies however I always look forward to the blooming of my dahlia flowers.

NS: What is a typical day in the life like?

SM: There isn’t a typical day per say and that’s what I love most about my job, no 2 days are the same. I can go from having a day of meetings 10-6 and then shows from 5am until midnight.

NS: Do you have a thorough morning routine?

SM: I don’t have an indulgent routine, I find that when I apply too much on my skin, it will lead to breakouts and so I avoid anything too strenuous. I do exfoliate my forehead and pore extraction to remove any blackheads, but I also look after my psoriasis on my scalp with light moisturisers.

NS: How do you wind down in the evening?

SM: Often I read or listen to the radio but if I’m in the mood I will opt for some light TV.

NS: Where do you see the hair industry going?

SM: With this current climate, no-one really knows what to expect but it will definitely change how things are done and experienced. I will say that hair and beauty treatments will never die out as people will want to escape and they dream of looking and feeling good, we will have to adjust to the new normal.

NS: If you had to pick a hairstyle to have its moment again, what style would it be?

SM: I would love to see a polished hairstyle come back, for so long hair has been minimal and untouched but I would love to see a polished hair do once again.

NS: What things bring you joy every day?

SM: Tending to my garden.

NS: The best advice you have ever received?

SM: Keep your mouth shut! It’s definitely taught me to listen to other people.

SHOP MAsKs

SUB-ZERO DE-PUFFING ENERGY FACIAL MASK

SUB-ZERO DE-PUFFING ENERGY FACIAL MASK

SUB-ZERO DE-PUFFING EYE MAS

SUB-ZERO DE-PUFFING EYE MASK

CELESTIAL BLACK DIAMOND LIFTING AND FIRMING TREATMENT MASK

CELESTIAL BLACK DIAMOND LIFTING AND FIRMING TREATMENT MASK

CELESTIAL BLACK DIAMOND LIFTING AND FIRMING TREATMENT MASK

ROSE GOLD BRIGHTENING FACIAL TREATMENT MASK

ROSE GOLD ILLUMINATING EYE MASK

ROSE GOLD ILLUMINATING EYE MASK

Y THEOREM BIO CELLULOSE FACIAL MASK

Y THEOREM BIO CELLULOSE FACIAL MASK

ANTI BLEMISH BIO CELLULOSE FACIAL MASK

ANTI BLEMISH BIO CELLULOSE FACIAL MASK

SEASONAL MASTER-MASKING

SEASONAL MASTER-MASKING

If you were to advise a London guide, what would be on your list?

Well, As I grew up in Notting Hill, it will always have my heart and if I was recommending spots in London, a wander around Notting Hill would be high up on my list. From there it would be all the best shopping destinations, the iconic private members club, Annabels, Harrods and Liberty’s for any cute and unique gifts. I would always pop into 111CRYO at Harrods for the Cryo Facial and treatment for the ultimate recharge. Sometimes the city is great, but the beautiful secrets of the English countryside is something that should be experienced.

Your In-Flight Essentials?

I don’t have a routine per say and I am certainly not as thorough as Naomi Campbell but I would apply the Meso Infusion Lip Duo and I would always wipe my phone down with anti-bacterial wipes, in fact I do this every day, the bacteria build up is no good for the skin.

In terms of Industry, where do you see the hair industry going?

Well Instagram has changed so much and has impacted the way we consume and learn within the industry, especially with so many creatives, but I still find that a massive amount of people come to the professionals to share the knowledge on how to carry out or complete a desired look, more than ever there is power behind ‘how-to’ videos.

A very valid point and in terms of 2020?

In terms of what we are to see in 2020, things are going to be super creative and we will see a wider awareness for people doing their own thing and it will be expressive and artistic. People will move away from the overtly glamorous looks and will create looks they can tailor to their everyday. As it’s currently Award Season which is the busiest time of the year leading up to the Met Ball, hairstyles are certainly more elaborate, and everyone loves an up do. I would say the most timeless look has to be the blunt bob, it comes around year on year, but it is effortless and timeless.

Outside of hair, what other industries are you into?

I am hugely into Interiors and I would describe my style as 60s/70s glamour, think elaborate and dramatic but I often fantasise about 80s Dallas and Joan Collins and I have to reign myself in. I also love Baking; it is the ultimate way to relax and I find that it is my meditation and therapy. If I’m in the USA I would bake a lot of cookies as everyone is obsessed with then over here and in the UK, I would bake more traditional styles like a lemon tart or an apple tart – it allows for me to be creative outside of my job.

Finally, the best advice you have ever received?

It would have to be from my grandfather, he would often say to me “it’s not how well you’re doing but how well people think you’re doing”. I haven’t successfully implemented it however you can look to Instagram today and people see our work and are blown away by it, but we can be so hard on ourselves and not appreciate our own work ourselves.

 

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published