Friday, October 26, 2012

Bill Cunningham: The Man Everyone Dresses For

 Photographer Bill Cunningham attends Marc Jacobs Spring 2010 fashion show at The Armory on September 14, 2009 in New York City, New York.
What to say about a man, a legend, a fashion guru.  There is not much you can say but there is a lot you can see.  Bill Cunningham has been photographing street fashion for the last 50 years.  He has been a major influence in making sure that we, the people, get to see the affordable side of fashion. Throughout his 50 years of covering street style, not just throughout New York, but London and Paris, Bill has managed to be a personal friend for some of the biggest fashion names in the world.  Anna Wintour has been photographed by Bill since she was 7.

One of the most influential fashion industry women on today, Anna Wintour, has described the power of Bill Cunningham in just a few words - "We all get dressed for Bill."  It is a powerful quote because it elaborates on the fact that Bill has a drastic effect on people’s ideas on what to wear.  You could say that people go out of their way to make sure they get a picture taken by Bill Cunningham.

Photographer Bill Cunningham (C) attends the Michael Kors Spring 2011 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at The Theater at Lincoln Center on September 15, 2010 in New York City, New York.

Some of the most fascinating facts about Bill Cunningham are that he doesn’t care so much as to the fact who is wearing the clothes; he cares how the clothes look.  He sleeps on a bed made from 4 milk carts and old newspapers, and surrounds himself with file cabinets full of photos he has taken.  He lives a modest life, does not own many materialistic things and for someone who loves fashion he certainly doesn’t own a lot of clothes.  You can recognize him by the trademark blue workman’s smock, which he purchases in Paris, and he never seems to be without his camera.  When it rains he drives around on his bike with a poncho that has been fixed up many a times.  Bills’ modesty even extends as far as him not even taking any free drink or food while working at events.  Cunningham claims that "You see, if you don't take money they can't tell you what to do, that's the key to the whole thing" (Bill Cunningham New York).  Basically he keeps all his creative freedom by not conforming to the industry perks.

For you second year students who are fortunate enough to attend New York, I would highly recommend to try and go out of your way to meet Bill Cunningham, I know I would.  It would be such an honour to meet such an influence on today’s society.

Check out Bill Cunningham's take on Spring 2013 here.

By: Petar P.