Princess Diana’s hairstylist on recreating her hairstyle for The Crown

Princess Diana‘s hairstylist has told how it felt ‘weird’ recreating his former client’s hairstyle on The Crown’s Emma Corrin.

Sam McKnight was the late royal’s hairstylist for seven years – from 1990 until her tragic death in 1997 – and is also renowned for creating Kate Moss’s rock-chick bedhead.

He has since spoken about being asked to recreate Diana’s signature voluminous style that she donned in the ’80s on Emma Corrin – who is set to play her in the forthcoming series of the Netflix hit – for Vogue’s October 2020 cover.

‘It felt weird,’ he said, speaking to Vogue. ‘But then, it was one of my first jobs after lockdown so I thought, ‘You know what? You’re thinking about this too much.’ 

Diana, Princess of Wales, smiles at an event held in support of land mine victims in Tuzla, Bosnia, on August 9, 1997

Diana, Princess of Wales, smiles at an event held in support of land mine victims in Tuzla, Bosnia, on August 9, 1997

Emma Corrin as Princess Diana (pictured) during 'The Crown' TV show on set filming, Manchester, on 9 February

Emma Corrin as Princess Diana (pictured) during ‘The Crown’ TV show on set filming, Manchester, on 9 February

Sam – who has created looks that have been copied across Britain – went on to admit that he had some doubts after first hearing the request.

But he added: ‘To be honest, Emma is playing Diana before I even met her, so it felt fine,’ he explained. ‘We took a nod to the photos of Diana [in that period] and made a little pastiche of it.’

Speaking of how he achieved Princess Diana’s ’80s look on Emma, Sam explained: ‘Like Diana, Emma has a ton of hair. I set it on hot rollers and treated it as I would have done on shoots for Vogue in the ’80s,’

He went on to add that just like with most models he worked on in the era – regardless of the length of their hair – a hot roller set, backcombing and hairspray were his go-to.

Princess Diana (pictured) at the America red cross charity ball in aid of landmine victims in June 1997

Princess Diana (pictured) at the America red cross charity ball in aid of landmine victims in June 1997

Emma Corrin (pictured) is set to play the late royal in the forthcoming series of 'The Crown'

Emma Corrin (pictured) is set to play the late royal in the forthcoming series of ‘The Crown’

However, it was the androgynous-inspired hairstyle that Sam created on Diana in the 1990s that really came to define her look. 

He recalled how it all came about when the late royal asked him what he’d do to her hair if he was given the choice, and he replied he’d ‘cut it all off and start again.’ 

Sam also went on to reveal that the late royal credited him for helping her to change the way she felt about herself in the early ’90s. 

He added: ‘Someone sent me a television clip of her, [filmed] around the time of the Andrew Morton book, where the interviewer asked her what sparked her confidence to change in the early ’90s, and she actually said that it was Sam, who cut her hair. I melted.’ 

Throughout the 1990s, Sam worked with supermodels Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell.

See the full feature in the October issue of British Vogue available via digital download and newsstands on Friday 11th September

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