The Real Story Behind Princess Diana’s Early 90s Short Haircut

Many of us are informed with the—and we demur before regulating this word, though we’re going to go forward with it anyway—iconic 1991 shot of Princess Diana, chin resting on her folded-over hands, wearing a black turtleneck, hair chopped short.

And interjection to hairstylist Sam McKnight, who has a new book and muster out, we now have some of a backstory about what led to that thespian stylistic switch.

McKnight recounts, to a Daily Mail, that his initial time operative with a princess was in 1990, when she was brought in to be photographed by Patrick Demarchelier (McKnight had guessed previously they’d be photographing Margaret Thatcher when he listened they were “shooting someone critical for Vogue”). For that shoot, he used some hairstyling trickery—“using hair grips to tuck her shoulder-length hair underneath a tiara”—to make it demeanour like she had brief hair.

Diana was evidently utterly gratified with a demeanour as, after a shoot, McKnight says that she asked him, “What would we do with my hair if we gave we giveaway rein?” He responded, “I would cut it all off,” and, as McKnight puts it, “She was assured immediately.” The rest, as they say, was . . . a famous haircut.

McKnight explains that it was “one of a cuts that women unexpected wanted,” as it popped adult “everywhere—on a High Street, on newsreaders.” He hypothesizes that a recognition was associated to a contrariety to a “big 80s hair,” representing a “sportier, some-more androgynous look,” though one that was “still hugely feminine.”

McKnight went on to work closely with Diana (“I saw Diana each week when we was in London”). During one assembly with Linda Evangelista and Vogue editor Liz Tilberis, McKnight told them about a fire he had finished progressing in a week with Diana and Demarchelier, and imparted that one design in sold “would make a good Vogue cover.” And, yep, we guessed it: it’s a black turtleneck shot, that ran as a cover of British Vogue in Dec 1991. And McKnight shares one final, special fact about a image: “She had only stopped satirical her nails and was so unapproachable of how they looked.”

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