Edit ModuleShow Tags

Times Square is His Catwalk

Today is the last day: See this movie before it leaves!

Last night I saw the documentary Bill Cunningham New York at the Ken Theater in Kensington. And I urge anyone who loves fashion, artists, photography, or New York to see this movie. It closes today...hurry.

Bill Cunningham has been photographing the fashions of regular folk and their street style, as well as socialites at parties, in Manhattan for almost 50 years. Cunningham has worked at Women’s Wear Daily, Details (during its inception), and has worked at The New York Times since 1978.

Cunningham captures, without judgment, the beauty and risks people take with their clothing, and believes that fashion is something humanity cannot live without. He doesn’t photograph celebrities because of who they are, but because of the clothes they’re wearing. He believes a designer garment is no more beautiful than the baggy pants of a rapper, a self-made drag outfit, or a woman wearing a cleverly styled garbage bag. “It’s true, if you seek beauty you will find it,” Cunningham said as he was awarded the title chevalier de l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French in 2008. And find it he does—every day on the streets of New York.

Without sounding cliché, Cunningham, who sleeps alone on a single cot, in his modest and tiny apartment surrounded by books and file cabinets filled with his photos and negatives, is dedicated to his art. In one powerful scene in the film, Cunningham admits to the filmmakers that he has never in his life had a lover…never. All he has ever loved is in his work. “I just love the clothes,” Cunningham says.

He was a trend tracker before there were “style experts” or bloggers and sartorial before the Sartorialist and the Internet. Cunningham has the eye for spotting what’s hot in fashion before the designers and how real people dress. “I won’t photograph something that comes down the runway and isn’t wearable for a real woman,” Cunningham says as he sits front row at a Paris fashion show.

He’s one of the greats.