Capturing Beautiful Clothes and the Beauty of Life in Bill Cunningham New York

Bill Cunningham

For decades, Bill Cunningham has chronicled New York street style and the sartorial feats of soirée attendees for the New York Times. Now, the man on the Schwinn bicycle is the subject of a documentary aptly titled, Bill Cunningham New York, an endearing portrait of the creative mind behind the famous, “On the Street”, and “Evening Hours” style columns.

Through Bill Cunningham New York, we get to relish in Cunningham’s creative process, as we witness how he inconspicuously observes passersby, and then pounces on his sartorial prey, quickly snapping away with his trusty camera before his subject even notices. But aside from that, we learn about the man behind the camera, one greatly admired and respected by industry insiders, high society, and common folks alike, but whom we know very little about. A milliner in his early days, Cunningham has since built a career around documenting the aesthetic of New Yorkers from all walks of life. His passion for beautiful clothes and the creative ways in which people interpret as well as create fashion trends provides the very fodder for his work.

Bill Cunningham_Anna_Dello_Russo

Some critics have pointed out the sadness in that, aside from traveling the world to cover fashion weeks, working the New York charity circuit, and roaming the streets of New York in search of his next subject, Cunningham seems to lead a solitary life. In all honesty, that’s exactly what I found most endearing about him. His passion is what sustains him. It is in effect all that he wants and needs. When I look at Cunningham, I don’t see a sad or lonely man. I see a cheerful, truly lucky man who’s found fulfillment and happiness in pursuing his greatest love. Perhaps, it seems sad to us only because we can’t fathom the idea of not having anyone to share our greatest accomplishments with, but for some people, like Cunningham, they needn’t share their emotions privately, especially when they already do so very publicly. Cunningham communicates his innermost feelings and ideas through photographs, and shares his love with his collaborators, his many acquaintances, and the public. He doesn’t at all feel sorry for himself. Hence neither should we.

Photos via,

2 Responses to “Capturing Beautiful Clothes and the Beauty of Life in Bill Cunningham New York
  1. Mariah says:

    Katia! He took my picture yesterday! I was over the moon! The film was amazing.

    • Katia says:

      OMG! I am so jealous! You lucky duck! So what was it like to cross paths with none other than Bill Cunningham? The film left me in awe of him.

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