August 21 2014

styledotcom Sneakers and dresses make a killer combo for Fall:

Subscribe to Style Magazine
63 posts tagged "Sam McKnight"

Breaking Out the Big Guns (and Not Much Else), Backstage at Balmain


karlie-kloss“The girls are booked for who they are, so it’s not about stamping a look on them,” explained hair pro Sam McKnight. When you have models like Angela Lindvall, Joan Smalls, Karlie Kloss, Anja Rubik, Jourdan Dunn, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley all in one room, do you even need hair and makeup? Add a swipe of lipstick and the Hôtel de Ville might just spontaneously combust from the overwhelming amount of beauty. Nevertheless, a little foundation, concealer, and brow powder never hurt anyone. And that’s about all maquillage master Tom Pecheux used backstage to create the “safari goddess” who would wear Olivier Rousteing’s high-octane clothes through the jungle. The only alteration he made was paling out the skin with a lighter shade of base. “It’s still the minimum of what you can do in terms of makeup, but it’s much more than last season,” Pecheux quipped.

An “unbrushed, lazy ponytail with a structured front,” was how McKnight summed up the strict center parts and textured tails that showed off the collared necklaces and door-knocker earrings created by the designer. To coax out natural wave, he spritzed strands with a combination of water and Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray after tying off the length with a string of elastic. As for who, of all the girls, has the “ideal” hair: Huntington-Whiteley, of course. Sigh. As if that face and body weren’t enough.

Photo: Sonny Vandevelde;

Strong Eyes and Soft Bobs, Backstage at Dries Van Noten


dries-van-notenFaux bobs abounded at Dries Van Noten—all inspired by the forties-esque dresses and shoes in the show. Sam McKnight disguised models’ length by braiding the under-layers at the nape to form an “anchor,” misting all over with Fudge Salt Spray to create a matte texture, and wrapping sections around an iron to form loose curls. After a generous spritz of Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray was applied, the hair was divided into three sections, and each was tied off at the end with a band. McKnight then rolled up each piece and secured it to the plait that acted as a pincushion, allowing the shorter layers to cascade around the right side of the face. To play off the metallic pieces, he slid a flat barrette just behind the left ear to finish. “Dries’ focus for the hair was a wave, but the wave down was too glamorous. A small head somehow made it a little more masculine and a little less frivolous,” he noted.

“It’s just one graphic element,” Peter Philips explained of the onyx eyes at Dries Van Noten. “The collection is full of prints and bold combinations, so we wanted to do something that’s strong but doesn’t clash with the clothing.” His weapons of choice: MAC Chromacake in Black Black and Giorgio Armani Beauty’s Eye Shader Brush. A clean, angular shape was swathed across the lid and bluntly ended just past the corner of the eye—deliberately not bringing it to a point, which would make it feel “retro.”

It’s not the first time we’ve seen an artist focus on this aspect of the face this season—from Derek Lam to Roberto Cavalli, the eyes certainly have it. Philips’ reasoning: “If you do a lip or an eye, it brings the girls together and creates an army that represents the designer’s vision…It makes them almost anonymous because it overtakes the natural shape of the eye and becomes an accessory.” In comparison to Van Noten’s shimmery, silver Mary Janes that are now sitting on my Fall 2014 wish list, this lid look is an accessory I can definitely afford.

Photo: Sonny Vandevelde/

Graphic Design, Backstage at Fendi


blog“It’s about purity of line,” hairstylist Sam McKnight explained of the sharp and minimal look he crafted at Fendi. “Karl sent me an illustration with a very small head.” To keep strands compact, McKnight employed a lot of Sebastian hairspray and made two side partings on either side of the face, dividing the hair into two small sections near the crown. Next, he folded the sections over one another, tying each off into a ponytail with a piece of elastic. “It’s like a basket weave or origami,” he noted of his technique. Then the sides were scraped back to cover the elastic and gathered into a low pony, which was later wrapped with a piece of the tail to hide the band. While the style appeared seamless, it required “pins and grips” (which were pulled out after the hair was set into place) and at least two pros per model to create.

Playing off the linear elements in the hair, face painter Peter Philips opted for cinematic highlighting and shading over a “proper makeup statement.” Seeing as the collection was filled with stark contrasts—tough fabrics and delicate orchids; fluffy furs and shiny, sleek jackets—he wanted to keep the look strong but simple, so as not to clash with or overtake the clothes. A full-coverage foundation was used to perfect complexions before it was powdered to a semi-matte finish. Then he applied a pure white Mehron CreamBlend Stick on the cheekbones. Philips said he tested out a pearly illuminator but found the result “too pretty,” and these girls needed to be “tough.” A taupe, matte pigment was run along the hollows of the cheeks, and eyes were given a graphic feel with a blend of two brown Make Up For Ever shadows (#17 and #165) just on the outer corners. Not wanting a cat-eye effect, Philips concentrated the color on “the spot between the socket and the eyeball,” angling it downward, “like old photos of Marlene Dietrich or seventies Guy Bourdin makeup.” Lips were topped off with transparent gloss. “It doesn’t look natural, but 50 percent of the makeup will blend in with the light on the catwalk,” he explained. And Philips was right. With drones buzzing overhead, the intense, almost-theatrical contours disappeared—all that remained were models’ perfectly chiseled features as Cara Delevingne kicked off the show, a Lagerfeld-like Fendi bug daintily dangling between her thumb and forefinger.

Magical Manes and Sophisticated Sparkle, Backstage at Chanel


ChanelMakeup artist Peter Philips confessed that this season’s beauty look was built from the ground up—literally. Those hand-embroidered sneakers by Massaro conveyed such a new attitude in themselves that playing with iridescence in terms of makeup became self-evident. “I wanted to do something that stood out with lightness but at the same time was elegant and couture,” he said. Mission accomplished. Philips started with Chanel Perfection Lumière Velvet foundation (launching in March) to create a matte finish, “because all the shine had to come from the eyes,” he noted, and dabbed a touch of powder blush in Espiègle on cheeks and across the chin. Then came a stroke of black Ligne Graphique liquid liner and ample coats of mascara, which tempered the hologram glitter in various sizes that he applied under the otherwise unadorned lower lashes. “The eyeliner makes it chic and iconic, but then you’ve got the sparkle that feels relaxed and fresh yet creates magic,” he noted. To finish it off, Philips reached for Rouge Coco Shine lipstick in Satisfaction (out next month). “It’s a great color, because if models’ lips are naturally too red, it tones them down; if they are too pale, it brings in just the right amount of color,” Philips explained. For a bit of discreet sparkle on nails, he opted for Le Vernis in Frisson, a rosy iridescent lacquer.

Asked about his inspirations, hair guru Sam McKnight reached for his iPhone and fished out a few sketches Karl Lagerfeld sent over a couple weeks back. “He specifically said he wanted something kind of undone and asymmetrical.” McKnight’s solution: extensions that matched each model’s hair color attached to headbands (shown below). The faux strands were flatironed to stand at attention, creating the impression that the girls had just tied up their hair and left the spiky ends out. “You could say the hair had to correspond to the sneakers, too,” he said. “It had to capture an attitude, it had to be a little sporty, but it had to be a look—for couture, it couldn’t be nothing.” Ultimately, he quipped, “what it became is a version of nothing.” Not exactly much ado about nothing—the finished product was as fantastical as the footwear.


Photo: Sonny Vandevelde/; Instagram

Chanel Channels the American Spirit



The women that walked Chanel Pre-Fall last night wore their war paint well—baring cheeks, lids, and temples that were burnished with gold and silver cross-hatching, inky black mascara and liner on top lashes only, and natural, pink-toned lips. To complement the makeup created by Peter Philips, Sam McKnight tucked double-C stamped feathers into select models’ wind-tousled low ponytails, while others sported a Lady Gaga (the early years)-style bow comprised of actual strands. Who knew playing cowboys and Indians could be so chic? Well, I suppose Karl had an idea.

Photo: Instagram