Hair By Sam McKnight – A Must-See Exhibition

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”3812″ img_size=”full”][vc_empty_space height=”30px”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]For anyone who’s ever picked up a copy of Vogue over the last 40 years, it’s likely that you’ve come across Sam McKnight’s work without even realising it. With over 180 covers under his belt, McKnight is responsible for many of the iconic hairstyles to grace the glossy pages of magazines and is a regular at all four fashion weeks. McKnight’s mastery over hair is displayed for the first time in Somerset House’s latest exhibition, a retrospective adventure curated by Shonagh Marshall and designed by Michael Howells.

Visually arresting, the show utilises multiple forms of media to show the transformative power of McKnight’s work. For those who are curious about what happens backstage, the opening room contains a mock-fashion show set up, tools laid out on portable makeup stations with videos playing that show [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]McKnight at work. Soon after there is a display of Vivienne Westwood designs from past catwalk shows, accompanied of course by McKnight’s statement hair work: striking mohawks, Viking-esque plaits and sculpted poufs ala Marie Antoinette compliment Westwood’s designs. A neat touch is that videos of the shows play on small television screens overhead enabling you to see McKnight’s as it was intended to be consumed.

On the opposite side of the exhibition McKnight’s work with Karl Lagerfeld is explored, showcasing a selection of soft, romantic hairstyles that complement the whimsically feminine creations of the French fashion house. Set against a pink backdrop that wouldn’t look amiss in a Wes Anderson film, the important of hair in completing an image is obvious.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_single_image image=”3815″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]Hair by Sam McKnight at Somerset House© Peter Macdiarmid​[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”3817″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]Patrick Demarchelier © The Conde Nast Publications Ltd[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”3818″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]Karlie Kloss for British Vogue, November 2015, Photograph by Patrick Demarchelier[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”4/6″][vc_single_image image=”3822″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]Tilda Swinton, Vogue Italia, February 2003 © Craig McDean, Courtesy Art + Commerce[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]Two walls of Vogue covers attest to McKnight’s , whilst a particular highlight is the section that explores Sam’s iconic transformations on four different style chameleons: models Kate Moss, Stella Tennant and Karlie Kloss and actress Tilda Swinton.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]There are four variations of looks on each, many of which have entered popular culture; who hasn’t seen the Bowie-esque image of Tilda Swinton with the bright copper hair, or Kate Moss’ signature laid back tresses?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”4/6″][vc_single_image image=”3828″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]© Alexei Hay, Trunk Archive[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]There’s also a section devoted to McKnight’s work in the medium of video, with two videos playing simultaneously on opposing screens. On one side, there is the wild, wacky world of Bjork; on the other, the glossy tresses of model Lily Donaldson throwing[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text] her head from side to side, blonde locks splaying across the screen in glorious slow motion. McKnight’s work with the late Princess Diana is also highlighted, with personal call cards painting an intimate portrait of the relationship between the two.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”3830″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]© Alexei Hay, Trunk Archive[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]The exhibition finishes with a video of McKnight himself discussing his career, from his beginnings at Molton Brown in the ‘70s to later days working alongside the 90s supermodels. It’s personal but professional, and provides a fascinating insight into the man responsible for some of the most iconic hairstyles of the age. There can be little doubt as to his magnificence with a brush. As Dame Vivienne Westwood says of him, “When models work with Sam you can see they are in heaven. They know that they are going to be goddesses in ten minutes, after he has worked his magic.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]For fashion fans to stylists wishing to emulate McKnight’s success, Hair by Sam McKnight is a must-see exhibition, the first of its kind to convey the importance of hair in creating an image and explore the role of a session stylist within fashion. With limited time left before the exhibition closes its doors on the 12th March, this is a display not to be missed.​

Hair by Sam McKnight runs from the 2nd November 2016 and closes on the 12th March 2017.
Tickets cost £13.50 are available from https://www.somersethouse.org.uk/[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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