Right Now: Hair by Sam McKnight Exhibition, Somerset House

Kate Moss by Sam McKnight

Happy New Year! Whilst I’m not a big believer in new year’s resolutions (I feel like if you can’t resolve to change on June the 11th, or October the 16th, why would January 1st be any different?), I do love the bright and shiny possibilities of a new year. Especially because in many ways 2016 was a tough year. Not for me personally but for the planet as a whole, so I think pretty much everyone was happy to say sayonara to 2016.

So now that it’s January, I decided to go and seek some fashion inspiration in the art galleries and museums which London has so many of.  My favourite exhibition at the moment is hairdresser Sam McKnight’s gorgeous new exhibition, Hair, which I hadn’t had time to get to before Christmas when it opened. It’s at Somerset House until March 12th 2017.

Sam is a seriously amazing hairdresser – I would say one of my top 3 hairdressers of all time. His career spans 40 years and he’s done everyone from the Princess of Wales to Madonna and Lady Gaga. He was instrumental to the rise of the supermodels in the 90’s, working with them literally every day for years, and responsible for more Vogue covers than any other hairdresser, 190 (!) to date. Yes, he’s THAT good.

So to see a retrospective of his work was just a treat – all the way back from when he was doing Honey magazine and working at the Molton Brown salon, through his hair transformations of Linda Evangelista (yes, that was Sam), and on to today where he does all the Chanel shows and a constant flow of gorgeous editorial every month.

His work is so meticulous and so perfect, yet always looks effortless. His exhibition is also a wonderful retrospective of the last 40 years of fashion. Start your new year with some fashion inspiration and check out Hair.

Sam McKnight’s Hair exhibition runs until the 12th of March, 2017.
https://www.somersethouse.org.uk/whats-on/hair-sam-mcknight

Gisele by Sam McKnight
Gisele, hair by Sam McKnight, photography © Alexei Hay

Secret Weapon: Batiste Dry Shampoo in Cherry

batiste-cherry-shampoo

I call this wonder product “time in a can”. I’ve blogged before about how “special” my hair is (Read – needs hours of blowdrying to not look like Worzel Gummidge’s sister), so anything I can find to make the annoying and time consuming task of taming my barnet easier is a bonafide secret weapon in my books. And I’m constantly amazed by how many people don’t use dry shampoo, or even know it exists. For me it’s right up there with oxygen – a necessity for sustaining life itself.

I first came across it years ago on a shoot and seen it many hairdressers’ kits since. Dry shampoo basically soaks up any oil on your scalp and gives a denseness to the hair shafts, making lank hair look healthy again, and keeping a blowdry going for a good 4-5 days. You just spray it in your hair at the roots, shake it out and go. No torturous hairwashing and blowdrying required (and if you had my hair, you would know it is torture.)

I’ve tried lots of dry shampoos but I keep coming back to Batiste as it’s so effective and best of all it’s CHEAP. Not as cheap in Australia as the UK (which does make me feel gruff when I think about it, but it’s still a good deal cheaper than Klorane or Bumble and Bumble). And cheap is good when you use it 365 days a year. It gives the hair a heft as well which makes it perfect for styling (and why it is so beloved by hairdressers).

One warning – the standard Batiste is definitely better for blondes as the white of the powder can look ashy on some darker hair tones. However Batiste do a darker version for darker hair colours (which I always keep in my hair kit, as well as the standard one). Bumble & Bumble also make a range of dry shampoos for all hair tones including redheads, but that will set you back considerably more than the Batiste.

And best of all at the moment is that the new flavor is out, Cherry. I’ve always been a sucker for Cherry products (for eating, cooking, wearing – and did I mention eating?) and this one is no exception. The scent isn’t overpowering either which is important for me given that most scents make me feel sick (a weird thing which started happening when I was pregnant years ago, and very annoyingly has never gone away.)

It makes me feel like Spring is in the air!

www.batistehair.com.au

Current Obsession: OriginalMineral Haircare

Blake Lively

Ah my hair – what a saga that is. When it’s well behaved it looks like this:

When it’s badly behaved it looks like this:


(Although David Lee Roth looks a hell of a lot prouder of his luscious locks in this video than I am of mine).

And that’s how it’s been my whole life. The only difference between the two is the products I use, and I have learnt through trial, and much, much error which ones work for me (Answer: Not Many). And just to give you an idea of what my barnet is like to deal with, let me tell you this – it’s long, it’s blonde, there’s lots of it and it has natural wave to it, which can be a good or a bad thing. Put it this way, my husband calls me “The Tree” on bad hair days. Not a desirable nickname. Too much product leaves it looking flat as a pancake and voluptuous waves soon become hideous 80’s rocker frizz. Did I mention it’s dry? So very, very dry that usually I use masks for black hair as conditioner. My hair is one freaky place, let me tell you.

Shampoo and conditioner are paramount for me. If they’re right, it’s Blake Lively time. Get it wrong and it’s all about the 80’s soft rock/heavy metal tribute band (think Van Halen, but more ghetto). But now I’ve discovered OriginalMineral’s UNBELIEVABLE range of natural haircare, every day is a good hair day. I’ve tried natural hair care before and it often leaves a strange residue in my hair, weighing down the ends. The result would be less than flattering, so it was straight back to the hardcore chemical numbers that did the job. But I’d stand in the shower wondering how much of those lovely chemicals my body was ingesting, and it did make me feel uncomfortable (not enough to risk having bad hair mind you, a girl has her limits). But now with OriginalMineral my days as a wannabe David Lee Roth are over – OVER I tell you! I can have organic haircare and hair that can be seen in public. I can’t rave enough about this brand.

The CEO, Jose Bryce Smith, developed the line after her husband had contact dermatitis, and they were trying to find products without ammonia. O&M was born in Australia in 2007, and since then it has stealthily worked its way out of the salon and is now heading around the world (I believe they have just hit the States with a bang.)

Let me tell you about my new O&M Hair Heroes, which are Hydrate and Conquer Shampoo and Conditioner. They contain Tasmanian Sea Kelp, Vitamins A,B,C & E and amino acids – and more importantly they took my hair from heavy metal tragic to Gossip Girl in one wash. ‘Nuff said.

I love the scent of the products as they aren’t too heavy, and the packaging is super cool as well – very 70’s retro (I can totally see these in Dustin Hoffman’s shower in Kramer vs Kramer) and it’s recyclable. I’m also gradually testing out some of the styling products which are just as fabulous as their haircare. So for a little less Miss Lively and a lot less Whitesnake, you need some O&M in your life.

OriginalMineral can be bought through salons in Australia and for Australian and US customers on their website. For those in the UK, Adore Beauty will ship to you.

The Interview: James Pecis

James Pecis

Tagged last month by British Vogue as one of the rising stars of the international creative firmament, New York based hairdresser James Pecis is going from strength to strength, booking editorials with photographers like Mario Testino, Liz Collins, Tim Walker, Miles Aldridge and Mariano Vivanco. His work regularly graces Harper’s Bazaar, British Vogue, Numero and V magazine, and aside from being a wonderful hairdresser he’s one of the nicest people I have ever worked with. Last time I worked with James we shot a TopMan Campaign together in London (with the rather gorgeous Louis Simonon, son of iconic Clash guitarist, Paul Simonon), and James is just such a wonderful person to be around. Plus he has the best tattoos I’ve ever seen – his hands alone are a work of art!

What are you working on at the moment?

Last week was Teen Vogue, French Vogue, Numero and now we are starting the campaigns for the season. It’s a fun and busy time.

Favourite hair job ever?

I don’t think there could be a favorite. I’m fortunate to get to do, see, and travel to amazing places for my job. I couldn’t have a favorite…  just lots of amazing memories and more to come.

Top 5 products?

  1. Surf Spray by Bumble & Bumble
  2. -Elnett hairspray by L’Oreal
  3. -Tecni.Art Pli by L’Oreal
  4. -Light Elements Texturising Cream by Aveda
  5. -Water – by mother nature

Best hair tip ever?

Hair grows

How did you get started in the business?

Years of assisting and hard work.

How is it different to when you started?

A lot has changed in a short time. The obvious would be the switch from analog to digital and the use of new electronic medias and moving images. Most photo assistants today could not load a 5X4 back and most hairdressers could not do a full head of marcel waves properly with tongs. But the competition is stronger than ever before which increases the demand to not only be creative, talented, and professional, but you also need to be fast, nice, and have impeccable taste.

Favourite looks for the next coming season?

Girls being creative and styling their own hair. Twisting, braiding, back-combing, pinning…. Just developing their own styles. Mixes of vintage with modern. Having fun and enjoying playing with their hair.

What do you love doing in your spare time?

Hmmmm….spare time….not a lot of that…..I may get this new operation so I don’t have to sleep anymore. I can stay awake 24/7.  Then I’ll have more spare time. I like to keep my hands and mind busy. I sew, make books, make felt hats, stickers, write letters, spend time with friends, yoga, exhibitions, etc.

James is represented in New York and London by D+V Management.  You can view his portfolio at www.dandvmanagement.com

James Pecis

James Pecis

From the Front Lines: Hairdresser James Pecis does the Shows

Arizona Muse by Benjamin Alexander Huseby for Dazed Confused

We’re very lucky here at MM HQ – look what I have received from one of my favourite hairdressers ever, James Pecis. James is not only one of the loveliest people in the business, he’s also a seriously amazing hairdresser who books Italian Vogue like you and I go to the supermarket. (Just this month he’s done the cover of Dazed and Confused with the unbelievably hot model, Arizona Muse).

This Fashion Week was one of his busiest ever (in London alone he did Roksanda Ilincic, Peter Pilotto and Meadham Kirchoff, amongst others), and we have an incredible video he put together of what it’s REALLY like doing the show circuits of NY, London and Paris. Lots of hard work and an awful lot of hair – but James makes it fun. Check it out.