Bill Cunningham on the Big Screen

Image courtesy of the NY TimesConfession: my favorite section of the NY Times is the Style section.  I don't know what that says about my intellectual curiosity and interest in world events, but I suspect it is not good.  What I do know is that I love the Style section and particularly focus on two things - the Weddings/Celebrations (no surprise there) and "On the Street" with Bill Cunningham.  Not only is he adorable (see the photo at left - cute, old school bike, always the same blue jacket and just looks so nice) but he has a keen eye for predicting trends in fashion and an uncanny ability to document those trends in New York City.  Even Anna Wintour, editor in chief of American Vogue and known for being the toughest fashion critic, has said “I’ve said many times that we all get dressed for Bill."Mr. Cunningham in action (image courtesy of Zeitgeist Films' website 

Mr. Cunningham attended Harvard for one semester, lived in Boston for awhile and moved to New York City in 1948.  He was originally a milliner and created some extravagant hats (take a look at this short video that contains photos of some of his creations).  Now 82-years-old, he has been photographing fashion on the street since "about 1966" (according to this article "Bill on Bill" that appeared in the NY Times in 2002), first at The Daily News and beginning at the NY Times in the early 1970s. Mr. Cunningham goes as far as to say that he doesn't see the people, just the clothes.  Fascinating! For some of his subjects' comments on him, check out "The Picture Subjects Talk Back".  Oh, and in an interview with Andre Leon Talley in the March 2011 Vogue Magazine (I can't find this anywhere online), Mr. Cunningham says he is now using his 29th bike (the first 28 were stolen).  Hmm... maybe NYC and Mr. Cunningham need B-Cycle?

Known for being an extremely private and elusive person, Mr. Cunningham is now the subject of "Bill Cunningham New York", a new movie about, well, Bill Cunningham!  The movie is currently playing in many cities (use this link for show times).  The NY Times has reviewed the film and made a short clip from the film available.

I think my favorite quote from the article "Bill on Bill" is the following: "I think fashion is as vital and as interesting today as ever. I know what people with a more formal attitude mean when they say they're horrified by what they see on the street. But fashion is doing its job. It's mirroring exactly our times."

Below is an example of one of his "On the Street" columns that appeared recently and highlighted the prevalence of fox fur scarves this spring... now I am not condoning wearing animal furs but I couldn't believe how "punk" fur can be!

Bill Cunningham "On the Street" - Fox Hunt