“The best fashion show is on the streets. Always has been and always will be.”
‘Bill Cunningham New York’ is a superb documentary that invites us into the life of the legendary street-style photographer and New York Times fashion columnist. Bill is now 84 and still living a simple life, riding his bike armed with his camera, his disposable rain poncho and his unfaltering enthusiasm for his art: capturing the people and the fashion on the streets and at the society events of New York – from SoHo to the Upper East Side – although he doesn’t regard himself as an artist, even if Anna Wintour et al do!
It’s clear that Bill is a compassionate and generous-hearted person who, despite his modest way of living, is the real style star. He sees beauty in simplicity as well as in the outlandish. When someone’s creativity to work a look catches his eye – whether it’s a high society woman or the girl on the street – it’s as if he’s been blessed by the presence of an angel.
This film has shown me that it’s more important than ever to celebrate individuality and personal style. Well-chosen and well-designed things that are right for each of us are even more necessary in the recession-hit world
of mass-production and consumption in which we live, and with which I have a hate/love relationship. Freedom of expression and escapism are also important in order to get by; as Bill says: “fashion is the armor to
survive the reality of every day life.”
If you’re not watching ‘Bill Cunningham New York’ at the Ritzy maybe I’ll see you in Brixton Village and the local charity shops finding some interesting pieces to make your own and turn some heads.
“He who seeks beauty will find it.” Bill Cunningham, I salute you.
For further reading, a beautiful, heartfelt blog piece by Hugh Garry on the Bill and the documentary can be found here.