“I’m not interested in celebrities with their free dresses. I’m interested in clothes.” ~Bill Cunningham
This documentary was a real pleasure to watch. Here is a man who doesn’t seem to have a hint of vanity, and yet he’s fascinated by clothing and style. For most of his adult life, he has had two columns in The New York Times and in recent years he’s had a very cool audio blog.
His first rule: “If you don’t take money they can’t tell you what to do.” And so he doesn’t accept any money for his work. Not any. He scrapes by living like a true bohemian. For decades, his crammed studio in Carnegie Hall was also his home, though it had no kitchen or bathroom and he slept on a cot amid his dozens of filing cabinets.
He pioneered street style photography, paving the way for the likes of The Sartorialist, my personal favourite. What’s most inspiring though is that he seems to really, truly love what he does.
“Fashion is the armour to survive the reality of every day life. I don’t think you could do away with it. It would be like doing away with civilization.”
You can check out Bill Cunningham’s blog on the Times website here. His latest post is about the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Fashion Institute at MoMA in New York. It’s a great way to view his photos but it’s also worth listening to his endearing voice and appreciating his wonderful way with words. He says the “kids” (as he calls everyone under 40 years old) viewing the exhibit look like they’re “drunk on fashion,” dressed head to heel in gothic, McQueenesque flare. The entire collection on display is like “falling into Alice in Wonderland’s rabbit hole,” says Cunningham.
What a charmer.