Sam McKnight, based in London, is a one-man force of nature responsible for dressing up and dressing down the curls and coils of the world’s best loved style icons. McKnight has become famous in his own right, so much so, that Somerset House is hosting a photographic exhibition featuring his work. We asked McKnight to name his favourite Top 10 hair styles shot by Mario.
SM: This one is classic Kate. There's no hair or make up on her, so she's totally natural. I think it’s one of my favourite pictures of her.
SM: I think Claudia is the eternal blonde bombshell in this picture. And this was quite recent, not that long ago, in 2010. She looked utterly amazing. Here she is as a Hollywood goddess. She can also be very natural, but I just love the glamour of this shot.
SM: Karlie is a modern day supermodel. A true Amazon who is fearless in front of the camera. I mean, she was jumping in every shot: she had the heels, the restricted dress, the big hair. Not many people can do that.
SM: This was a great story. We did little wigs, very shiny Asian wigs, and kind of punked them out with lots of grease and shine. We used gel and a product called Plastic Shine, to make it almost look surreal.
SM: These are from the same Love magazine shoot, and they both look cute and surprised here. We were using coloured wigs and just having lots of fun with the looks. Mario can capture that in a picture, and it’s a real talent to have. I love how happy the girls look here.
SM: I love this one. I love that it was another short wig, and it was with Catherine McNeil, who Mario discovered. She's a beautiful Australian girl, who had been off the scene for a while, but Mario brought her back to do a story at an Italian palazzo. Catherine had long hair but I brought a few wigs to the shoot, and we transformed her into a look inspired by Isabella Blow.
SM: This is Lara Stone in another wig. Lara is, of course, blonde but Carine Roitfeld wanted to turn her into a version of Elizabeth Taylor. So, we just used a short wig and curled it like Elizabeth Taylor used to. I love Lara in this picture.
SM: Mario had this great idea of doing Miranda Kerr as a modern Geisha, for the 15th anniversary issue of Vogue Japan. We made lots of very heavy hair pieces and placed them on Miranda. It gave her a completely different character and kind of made her unrecognisable.
SM: I love this French Vogue cover of Kate and Naomi. They are two of my favourite girls, and I’ve known them both since they were teenagers. They just both look really cool here. Photographs © Mario Testino