Bill Cunningham, New York

“It’s not work, it’s pleasure. That’s why I feel so guilty. Everybody else does work — I have too much fun.” - Bill Cunningham
Photo: First Thought Films/Zeitgeist

Photo: First Thought Films/Zeitgeist

"Fashion is the armour to survive everyday life." - Bill Cunningham. 

Bill Cunningham, the legendary New York street-style photographer passed away on Saturday, June 25, 2016, at the age of 87. He worked for nearly 40 years at The Times writing the columns, On the Street and Evening Hours. 

Bill loved clothes and the women who wore them. He always looked to the streets for inspiration, never to celebrities, exclaiming "I'm not interested in celebrities, with their free dresses. I'm interested in clothes.".

"The best fashion show is definitely on the street. Always has been, and always will be." - Bill Cunningham

Despite his love for photographing elegantly dressed women and men, Bill Cunningham lived an extraordinarily simple life. His uniform was entirely utilitarian: a blue French worker’s jacket, khaki pants and black sneakers. Up until 2010 he lived in Carnegie Hall, sleeping in a single bed surrounded by filing cabinets, filled with his rolls of film. Breakfast was at the same diner every morning and whenever he attended a gala, which was often, he never accepted a meal or even a glass of water, he was there to take pictures.

Source: Unknown

Source: Unknown

I saw Bill Cunningham on my way to the Veuve Clicquot Polo at Liberty State Park in NYC in 2012. He stood out in his blue jacket, photographing the dapper men and chic ladies on the way to the event. Then his lens turned to me. I couldn't believe I was being shot by Bill Cunningham. I will never forget that moment when I saw him in action and he took my picture. Being photographed by him was an honour.

“When I’m photographing, I look for the personal style with which something is worn — sometimes even how an umbrella is carried or how a coat is held closed. At parties, it’s important to be almost invisible, to catch people when they’re oblivious to the camera — to get the intensity of their speech, the gestures of their hands. I’m interested in capturing a moment with animation and spirit.” - Bill Cunningham

If you haven't seen the 2010 documentary film, “Bill Cunningham New York,”, you must. It's a fascinating glimpse into this fabulous man's life. In the film, Vogue editor Anna Wintour says, “We all get dressed for Bill," and I say let's keep dressing for Bill.

Lei xx