It’s a déjà do.
Hairstylist Sam McKnight said he experienced some déjà vu while recreating Princess Diana’s hair for “The Crown” on actress Emma Corrin, who will star as the beloved royal in Season 4 of the acclaimed Netflix show.
“It felt weird,” McKnight, a legendary stylist famous for doing the ‘dos of Tilda Swinton, Kate Moss and Lady Gaga, told British Vogue. Despite it being one of his “first jobs after lockdown,” he said he initially questioned taking on the role to recreate his former client’s hair at first.
“To be honest, Emma is playing Diana before I even met her, so it felt fine,” he said. “We took a nod to the photos of Diana [in that period] and made a little pastiche of it.”
As Princess Diana’s personal hairstylist for seven years until her death in 1997, McKnight is also the man responsible for Diana’s trademark cut in 1990 — taking her locks from big and fluffy to her now-iconic, much shorter tousled crop cut that made tsunami-level waves when she first debuted the ‘do in public.
Before the chop, he recalled seeing a “very tall, leggy blonde bounding into the studio” during a Vogue cover shoot with Patrick Demarchelier and Anna Harvey — the infamous one of her in a tiara, white dress and a mega-watt smile.
“We just fell in love with her,” McKnight said.
“At the end of the shoot she asked me what I’d do to her hair if I could do anything I wanted, and I said, ‘Well, I’d just cut it all off and start again,’ because it was 1990,” he said, noting the androgynous trend brewing at the time. “I said, ‘Cut it off, get rid of the ’80s frou-frou and start again with a minimal, short haircut.’ Which is what we did.”
But for “The Crown,” which will cover then-Lady Diana Spencer’s budding relationship with Prince Charles when it returns to Netflix in November, McKnight was tasked with creating her hairstyle on Corrin in the years before his scissors touched her tresses.
“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,” McKnight said. “Whenever the model came into the studio in the ’80s she got big hair. Whether her hair was short, long or in between, we went big with a hot roller set, backcombing and hairspray.”