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Curator Shonagh Marshall takes us through the highlights from Hair by Sam McKnight

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Armed with an arsenal of scissors, combs and enough hair spray to make hair stand up stiff, Sam McKnight has styled his way to over 100 vogue covers. The hairstylist has been credited for defining the images of supermodels Kate Moss, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington and Naomi Campbell, and for creating Princess Diana’s iconic slicked-back look. Now, Somerset House is set to launch Hair by Sam McKnight, a unique exhibition featuring photography, behind-the-scenes footage, magazines and commissioned wigs and hairpieces from Sam’s 40-year long career.

We asked the exhibition’s curator Shonagh Marshall to select five images from Hair by Sam McKnight before the exhibition opens to the public next week.

Agyness Deyn, 2005 (photographer Ben Dunbar Brunton)

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“An integral thread running throughout the curatorial narrative of the exhibition is the role in which McKnight has in shaping the identity of the women he works with. An example of this is one of his signature styles: the short crop. In the mid-1980s McKnight cropped model Jeny Howorth’s hair very short to her head and bleached it blonde. She was immediately in demand, her look both coveted and copied. McKnight repeated this style on other models and singers but its most transformative effect after Howorth was on model Agyness Deyn. When Deyn and McKnight met on a shoot in 2005 she had shoulder-length hair, which he cut into a crop that day and bleached the next, defining a new identity. This image captures Deyn staring confrontationally into the lens of the camera, her wet hair accentuating the blunt McKnight chop.”

Tilda Swinton, Dazed & Confused, May 2010 (photographer Glen Luchford)

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“The power hair has to transform our identity is uncanny and key moments of our life are often punctuated by a change in hairstyle. McKnight works with models and actresses, who are everyday chameleons, his role to transform them into the character they are to play in front of the camera. Here Tilda Swinton sits for Glen Luchford wearing two different wigs within the same shoot. The auburn soft curls on the right obscure her face and are representative of an art nouveau illustration, whereas the pilled curls on the left give a romanticised hint of the androgynous style Swinton is known for.”

Gisele Bunchen, Harper’s Bazaar, October 2007 (photographer Alexei Hay)
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“A section within the exhibition focuses on McKnight’s use of a wind machine to create movement in the hair. He explains ‘my focus is on creating texture, and movement is secondary. Sometimes you set it. Sometimes you use extensions, and sometimes you run your fingers through it and then you turn on the machine. No matter the specific method, getting hair moving is one of my favourite techniques.’ Hair itself is never truly static, constantly growing and moving, and McKnight’s approach celebrates this.”

Linda Evangelista, Sam McKnight and Jesse the Chimp, 1992 (photographer, Laspata Decaro)
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“Another section in the exhibition entitled ‘Intimacy’ exhibits personal photographs Sam McKnight has taken throughout his career capturing stylists, photographers, models and make-up artists at work and at play. Travelling to far-flung locations with a small team of people has meant the bonds he has developed are extraordinary. This image captures Sam with Linda Evangelista on location for a Kenar advertising campaign. The most intimate interactions he has are with the models, every day running his fingers through their hair and re-shaping their image. His role is more than mere hairstylist, he is also friend and confidant.”

Kate Moss, British Vogue, September 2010 (photographer Patrick Demarchelier)
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Malick-sidibe%cc%81_-regardez-moi-!_-1962 Work / Exhibition Somerset House curator Claire Catterall takes us through the Malick Sidibé exhibition

As the Somerset House opens “Malick Sidibé: The Eye of Modern Mali”, Claire Catterall, the exhibition’s curator picks out five of her favourite images from by the photographer who captured life at full throttle in a newly independent Mali.

Ndflist Work / Exhibition Northern Design Festival 2016: displaying the charm of communicative design

From today (7 October 2016) the Northern Design Festival will take place across Newcastle and Gateshead until 16 October. This year’s theme explores the initial creative spark, “Where do ideas come from? How do ideas evolve into furniture, products, posters, brands and buildings? And the things that surround us every day?” Director Karen Nairstone explains. In order to demonstrate the enormous breadth that UK designers cover, the exhibition explores a range of disciplines from graphic to lighting design, showcased by a scope of prestigious and upcoming creatives including Vaughan Oliver, A Practice for Everyday Life and Bryan Edmondson for Monotype, to name just a few.

Mouldmap Work / Exhibition Mould Map's latest issue is brought to life as an exhibition

For it’s sixth issue, Mould Map has quite literally brought its publication to life. This issue, Terraformers will “take place as a exhibition/walk-in magazine” curated by its editors Hugh Frost and Leon Sadler. The magazine, dedicated to contemporary narrative comics, creates each issue as a reaction to a topic.

Raw-color_aram-gallery_the-fans_list Work / Exhibition Dutch studio Raw Color's prismatic visual research experiments

Paper shredders and desk fans are some of the more banal things Raw Color turns into head-turning visual installations for its experimental research around colour. The Dutch design studio, led by Christoph Brach and Daniera ter Haar, has been invited to stage a solo show at The Aram Gallery for London Design Festival (opening 19 September) which promises a look at their cross-disciplinary approach. Here, the pair discuss choosing colours like flavours, and how they use self-initiated projects to support their client work.

Bjork-digital-list_santiago-felipe-(1) Work / Exhibition Björk Digital showcases the fruits of embracing collaboration and creative technologies

Famous foremost for her music, the stripped-down and intimate exhibition Björk Digital showcases the eponymous Icelandic artist’s latest digital output, working across virtual reality, audiovisual installation and interactive touchscreen instrumentation. Acting as a creative director embracing collaboration and technology as a means of innovation, Björk augments her organic musicology on what she calls “the universal, 10,000 year old theme — probably older” of heartbreak.

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