One Of The World's Top Hairstylists Gives Us A Tour Of Paris

If you oohed and ahhed over the windswept hair, elegant victory rolls, and power ponytails coming out of Paris Fashion Week, you've witnessed the mastery of hairstylist Sam McKnight. The 30-year industry veteran is beloved by designers and models alike for his creative vision and jovial demeanor backstage. (It's no wonder Kate Moss counts him as one of her closest friends.)

To bring his dreamy, happy — yet very-sleep deprived — world into our own lives stateside, we tasked McKnight with keeping a diary of his week in Paris. From gorgeous backstage snaps to a walk through the city's gardens, click through to live vicariously, pick up some major hair inspiration, and maybe convince yourself to finally book that one-way ticket.
1 of 10
Photo: Courtesy Sam McKnight.
"Backstage at [Emanuel] Ungaro, I was spraying some texturing spray through the [model's] hair. I threw her hair up and sprayed it as it moved, so it felt like it was caught in the wind. The spray was going all the way through the hair and not sitting on top or underneath of it."
Advertisement
2 of 10
Photo: Courtesy Sam McKnight.
"This is the effect of that windswept [technique]. I fiddled around with my fingers, but I didn’t brush it again after that. You can see all the ends are unfinished and she's got that outdoorsy glow."
3 of 10
Photo: Courtesy Sam McKnight.
"Balmain was a high-octane show — full-on glamorous, super-warrior women. It was breezy and powerful and one of Olivier [Rousteing, head designer of Balmain's] strongest castings. Most of the biggest models in the world were there. It was electric."
4 of 10
Photo: Courtesy Sam McKnight.
"[The models] loved their look, they loved their hair, and they were flipping it around. I wish I had taken some film of them swishing those ponytails."
5 of 10
Photo: Courtesy Sam McKnight.
"I just got so bored with the barber tape we use to keep the hair away from the face while the girls get made up. So I had one of my assistants run off and make some prints from pictures from my garden. We had them laminated and I think it works really well. It was definitely a talking point."
6 of 10
Photo: Courtesy Sam McKnight.
"This is the Jardin des Plantes. I had a morning off, a very sort of rare morning off, and I’m a big fan of dahlias. I was so happy they had lots of dahlias still out. Although I have to say mine in my garden could give them a run for their money..."
Advertisement
7 of 10
Photo: Courtesy Sam McKnight.
"Dries [Van Noten] felt there was a '40s something in the collection. There were lots of colors and prints clashing and some dresses had that retro feel. He’s very understated with the hair usually, so as soon as he said the '40s thing, we decided to do something vaguely '40s, in a modern way. There was no setting involved — just twisting with hair pins."
8 of 10
Photo: Courtesy Sam McKnight.
"The double ponytails [at Chanel] were Karl [Lagerfeld's] idea. Karl sent me a sketch and had the double-clips made and I carried out his idea. He just thought it was fun to do two ponytails instead of one. I love that you can see the ends of the necklaces with the double-Cs peeking out from underneath it."
9 of 10
Photo: Courtesy Sam McKnight.
"That was just before the Chanel show. The models had their hair and makeup done and were having fun like schoolgirls — which they kind of almost are. They were being really sweet and I had to take a picture. Those hairnets were to keep the aluminum hairbands and accessories on their heads."
10 of 10
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!
Advertisement