Legendary hairstylist Sam McKnight revealed in the latest installment of British Vogue‘s “Vogue Visionaries” YouTube series that the iconic short hairstyle he gave Princess Diana actually began as sort of a joke.
McKnight explained to the magazine, “The first time I met the Princess of Wales was on a shoot. This leggy blonde comes bouncing up the stairs, sticks her hand out, smiled, and made us all melt, and it was Princess Diana…We had a really lovely day. We were doing facial portraits for [British Vogue] and she wore a tiara and I made her hair look short under the tiara.” He continued, “This was 1990, I made it look short with a tiara. I faked it a bit…We laughed so much, she was very funny. At the end of the day, she said, ‘What would you do with my hair if I just said do anything?’” The hairstylist quipped, “I would cut it all off and start again.”
McKnight explained, “It was the beginning of the 90s and it was at the time that I was doing lots of shows and covers and a lot of the girls had short hair and we were moving from the sort of big frou-frou 80s into the sharp, more androgynous, business chic of the 90s. So she said, ‘Well, why don’t you just cut it off now?’ So I cut it off then and we never looked back. That was it for a few years.”
But while he may have been responsible for the late Princess’s signature look, McKnight was skeptical he was the right choice to do the hair of actress Emma Corrin, who plays Princess Diana on the latest season of The Crown, for her October 2020 British Vogue cover. “I remember that day,” he said. “That was my first job after the first lockdown in summer . I remember when the job came in I wasn’t quite sure that I was the right person to do this. It felt weird” But it all worked out in the end, “And actually it was a pleasure and Emma was a pleasure, and I was quite taken by how alike Emma was to Princess Diana in her looks,” he said. “She was such a lovely girl that any doubts and fears were laid and I think it’s a great cover.”
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