Legendary hairstylist Sam McKnight has just opened up to British Vogue about his relationship with the late Princess Diana. Not only did he become her close friend and personal hairstylist from 1990 to her tragic death in 1997, but he is also the visionary behind her iconic 'do.
Princess Diana's Hairstyle
In his intimate interview in "Vogue Visionaries," Sam McKnight opened up about his relationship with "The People's Princess." He explained, "The first time I met the Princess of Wales was on a shoot. This leggy blonde comes bouncing up the stairs, smiled, and made us all melt, and it was Princess Diana."
Lady Di was collaborating with Anna Harvey on her stylish clothes and she introduced Sam to the Princess. "We had a really lovely day. We were doing official portraits for the magazine and she wore a tiara. I made her hair look short under the tiara, I faked it a bit."
"The famous picture of that is the one where she is sitting on the ground holding her knees in a white satin ballgown with a big laugh on her face. We laughed so much, she was very funny." Before meeting Sam, Diana had a poofy and round hairstyle that had been a signature look of the '80s, and luckily she crossed paths with brilliant Sam.
"At the end of the day, she said 'What would you do with my hair if I said just do anything?' I said, 'I would cut it all off and just start again.' 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 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."
Same spoke with great affection in his heart about the late Princess and proudly explained the story behind one of his favorite covers of Vogue magazine. He showed the edition with Princess Diana laying on the floor with her face on top of her hands and he said, "It wasn't actually supposed to be a cover."
"She was so proud when she saw the polaroid because she had stopped biting her nails so you could see these lovely lovely nails. And she was so chuffed with that. We managed... to persuade her to be on the cover, to allow them to use the picture. That has very fond memories."
Not only was the Princess humble and down to earth but she was also kind. Her thoughtfulness gave birth to one of Sam's favorite moments as a stylist. "My mum and her friends were standing outside and [Diana] had never met my mum before. So, I think the story goes, one of my mum's friends shouted out, 'This is Sam's mum!' and for some reason, the Princess knew exactly who she was talking about and went over and spoke to her and that made my mum's day. I think for me that was probably the most pride I've ever felt in my job."
Sam has continued to spread Diana's essence even to this day. He worked with Emma Corrin for her Vogue cover last year. Emma portrays the late Princess on the latest season of The Crown.
"From one Princess Diana to another. I remember that day. That was my first job after the first lockdown in summer  and I remember when the job came in I wasn't quite sure that I was the right person to do this... 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. And she was such a lovely girl that any doubts and fears were laid, and I think it's a great cover."