Speaking to Another Man, McKnight explains why he has chosen to part ways with his extensive collection of bespoke Vivienne Westwood creations
Sam McKnight is arguably the preeminent hairstylist of his generation. Having contributed to the pages of Dazed, AnOther and Another Man, he’s got more than 190 Vogue covers to his name, as well as a Somerset House retrospective and a Rizzoli book. McKnight has worked with pretty much every designer you can think of, but has particularly strong ties with Vivienne Westwood, who he collaborated with throughout the 80s and 90s. On multiple occasions, Westwood would create clothes for McKnight as an expression of her gratitude, which has meant that over the years, the hairstylist has amassed an amazing collection of rare pieces. Now, though, he’s decided to sell them to raise money for a charity.
“I’ve had nine boxes that have followed me around, every place I’ve lived in,” he says. “I have quite an extensive collection of Westwood, most of which is suits that were made for me in a women’s fabric. It was early 90s, so it was before she officially had the Vivienne Westwood MAN collections…A few things got good use in nightclubs in the 80s, but they seemed to have survived pretty much intact miraculously – though the less intact stuff is not going in the sale.”
While McKnight also has a lot of 80s Comme and Yohji, it’s his Westwood creations that are going on sale first, at Kerry Taylor’s ‘Passion for Fashion’ auction in London on June 18. “There’s a rose-printed tweed jacket, there’s also an Oxford pinstripe, three-piece suit with bondage pants, which is actually a bondage suit,” he says. “And there’s a large exaggerated leopard print, which is a jacket waistcoat. There’s also a kilt and jacket, which sadly now makes me look like Mrs Doubtfire,” he says wryly. “I won't be sad to see her going, but she was great at the time.”
The money raised by the sale of these items will be donated to a charity called Beauty Banks which, founded by Sali Hughes and Jo Jones, provides toiletries and beauty products to people living in poverty. “As well as not being able to afford food, strangely enough in this country, this very, very wealthy country we live in, people can’t afford things like shampoo.” he says. “I just thought [this charity] fitted in nicely. They’re very new and I know that money is going to go to deliver a product to where they’re needed.”