Bill Cunningham, the blue-jacketed originator of street-style photography who pioneered the notion that fashion lived on the street, passed away at the age of 87 on June 25th. Cunningham had been hospitalized following a recent stroke.His eye was triumphantly democratic: a single column could include Nan Kempner in custom Yves Saint Laurent beside the Club Kid fixtures whose homespun couture made New York’s avant-garde underground churn. He worked as a kind of fashion anthropologist, who was as passionate about chronicling trends as he was about recognizing spectacular individuality.#racheltashjian
It seems everyone has a favorite “Bill Cunningham” story. An appearance in his column brings cocktail chatter that can last for months, even years and decades for some (you know who you are).
Exhausted but still posing – sometimes a camera lens can perk-you-up like an espresso. So we were perking and twerking – posing and primping – peacockin’ and hard rockin’ – you get the idea. And there he was, Bill Cunningham mixed in with the iphones, big lenses and tourist Kodak moments.
Not to be outdone by Travis, I sported my best profile pose – hand on hip – nose in air – swagger tilt. Out of the corner of my eye I spied BC getting pushed and shoved by the frenzy of tourists who apparently had no idea he was precious cargo.
- The New York Times
I announced to Travis, ‘I can’t pose while they’re beating up Bill Cunnigham’ – so I went to BC’s rescue. It’s difficult to walk, smile, hold in your stomach and parade wave all at the same time, but I managed to make it over to the scuffle and told the frenzied crowd that ‘we are posing for Bill – stop pushing him.’ And, Bill said “I’m fine young fella, can you step back so I can get a few more pictures?”
Have you ever seen Naomi Campbell walk backwards on the catwalk? Me either . . . but somehow I managed to float backwards to my position next to Travis and we vogued.
The term “ American Fashion Photographer” does not do justice to the work that Bill Cunningham did for more than four decades. His photographs of New York City street style for the New York Times are legendary.
|Daniel Richards being photographed by Bill Cunningham at Kips Bay 2016|
I recently attended a book signing and presentation of FASHION LIVES by Fern Mallis. She offered a fun tidbit about how she guilt-tripped the notoriously shy photographer into agreeing to the interview after he spilled a vodka-soda on her dress.
|Fern Mallis speaking about her book ‘Fashion Lives’ @Dmitriy&Co|
During the 2014 interview with Cunningham, he highlights some important observations. Particularly about the generation of millennials and their simple clothes and uniform fashions.
|Fern Mallis + Bill Cunningham @92Y 2014|
“Bill Cunningham Corner.”
|Ceremony for Bill Cunningham Corner|
|New York City’s First Lady Chirlane McCray|
The honor is merely temporary. Permanent street renaming has become rare. The mayor’s office said it was considering ideas about other, more lasting ways to honor Mr. Cunningham. Did someone say statue?
“Bill Cunningham turned our sidewalks into runways and New Yorkers into models,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. “His vivid photos captured our city’s diversity in every sense of the word, and helped define New York as the fashion capital of the world.”
We have lost Fashion’s best friend !!
|Bill Cunningham + George Oliphant + Jamie Drake + Ford Huniford + Douglas Friedman
HOUSING WORKS DESIGN ON A DIME
|Heidi Klum and Karlie Kloss at The Daily Front Row’s Fashion Media Awards – Getty|
|Bunny Williams + Bill Cunningham
JOHN ROSSELLI SHOWROOM