Mr. Bill Cunningham changed the way Americans viewed fashion; he turned fashion photography into a division of anthropology. Bill was a living landmark, a living legend, and a New York centerpiece. Walking around the streets of the city with his 35-millimeter camera around his neck, always ready to photograph whatever came around the corner.
He shot for the New York Times, Women’s Wear Daily and the Chicago Tribune, he introduced us to such designers as Jean Paul Gaultier, and Alaia. He took photos of some of the most beautiful, and famous people in the world. Mr. Cunningham knew fashion, he lived it and breathed it, and had a great admiration and passion for it. But he was also a very sweet, and humble man, “I’m not interested in celebrities with their free dresses. Look at the clothes, the cut, the silhouette, and the color. It’s the clothes. Not the celebrity and not the spectacle.”
You could say he invented the idea of “street fashion” (not that it had not existed in its own right before hand), but Bill brought attention to it, he breathed life into the idea of it. For where would Scott Schuman (The Sartorialist) Be without Bill? Bill was the grandfather of people watchers; he loved New York and all of its people. He looked at everyone with a whimsical curiosity, life shined through him, and his photography.
Mr. Cunningham passed away this year, at the age of 89, and although the fashion community mourned him, I don’t think he got the proper recognition he needed. Great men never die, for their legacy lives on, and that’s exactly what will happen with Bill. He will live on in spirit, in words, and in photographs.
Written by Carly