The legendary Bill Cunningham sadly passed away on Saturday, having recently been hospitalised after having a stroke.
Renowned for chronicling the ever-changing fashion and social scene on the streets of New York, Mr. Cunningham’s career at The Times lasted almost 40 years. From the super stylish to plain simple, nothing escaped Cunningham’s 35mm trained lens.
Mr. Cunningham gained such a memorable presence in the city that he was designated a living landmark in 2009. He was an easy one to spot, riding his bicycle in his utilitarian blue worker’s jacket and khaki pants, and in the process of snapping up the changing dress habits of New Yorkers, Mr. Cunningham gained himself somewhat of a celebrity status. The French Government bestowed the Legion of Honor on him in 2008, whilst in New York, he was celebrated at Bergdorf Goodman. A charming documentary “Bill Cunningham New York” was premiered at the Museum of Modern Art in 2010 to glowing reviews (now available on Netflix!)
What was it like to be photographed by Bill Cunningham?
First published in 2002, an article by the New York Times spoke to people who had known or observed Mr Cunningham.
Anna Wintour, editor in chief of American Vogue said –
I don’t know how many times he has taken my photograph, but we all dress for Bill. You feel he’s the only one who notices or cares how you dress. I wonder if Bill will like this. And it’s always a flattering picture he chooses. He picks everything carefully, so you will look your best. He’s a very seductive guy.
Fashion designer Oscar De La Renta quoted –
More than anyone else in the city, he has the whole visual history of the last 40 or 50 years of New York. It’s the total scope of fashion in the life of New York.
A humble man dedicated solely to documenting his love for fashion, his passing saw many celebrities and fashion folk dedicate their own loving words, as well as Mr Cunningham’s own quotes that are sure to go down in history.
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"The wider world perceives fashion as frivolity that should be done away with. The point is that fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life. I don’t think you can do away with it. It would be like doing away with civilization." —#BillCunningham 💙 On an industry often judged as mundane, the late photographer, woke up every morning and gave it substance, life, and most importantly, captured not just fashion but style. We lost another legend last Saturday, may the meaning he gave his work live forever in all of us (📸@TommyTon)
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"Fashion is quick to judge. Criticism drives sales. Trends come in, styles go out. Taste — that you either have it or you don’t — is part of the appeal. But 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder' never held more weight than when Bill did the holding." @amilli0naire remembers Bill Cunningham, who died today at 87.