In Memory of Bill Cunningham

 

“The best fashion show is definitely on the street. Always has been. Always will be.”

BILL CUNNINGHAM.

1929-2016

It was and still is, heartbreaking to learn of the passing of one of fashions greatest treasures on Saturday,  with the The New York Times confirming that legendary street style photographer Bill Cunningham passed away following a stroke.

“We all get dressed for Bill” is what American Vogue Editor Anna Wintour one said and it rang true for all as his unique perspective of capturing street style and his view of fashion was unparalleled. Clad in his utilitarian outfit which consisted of his signature electric blue French street -cleaner’s jacket, khaki pants, black shoes and his trusty bicycle, Mr Cunningham was one of the most beloved figures in fashion with an eye for street style and the humanity behind fashion.

“In his nearly 40 years working for The Times, Mr. Cunningham snapped away at changing dress habits to chart the broader shift away from formality and toward something more diffuse and individualistic.”

Bill_Cunningham_at_Fashion_Week_photographed_by_Jiyang_Chen
Bill Cunningham at Fashion Week. Image taken by Jiang Chen.

To celebrate his incredible life, here are his best statements on style courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar Australia.

On the industry:

“The wider world perceives fashion as frivolity that should be done away with. The point is that fashion is the armour to survive the reality of everyday life. I don’t think you can do away with it. It would be like doing away with civilization.”

“I’m not interested in celebrities with their free dresses. Look at the clothes, the cut, the silhouette, the colour. It’s the clothes. Not the celebrity and not the spectacle.”

On streetstyle:

“The best fashion show is definitely on the street. Always has been. Always will be.”

“I don’t decide anything. I let the street speak to me, and in order for the street to speak to you, you’ve got to stay out there and see what it is.”

“I could never concentrate on Sunday church services because I’d be concentrating on women’s hats.”

“The main thing I love about street photography is that you find the answers you don’t see at the fashion shows. You find information for readers so they can visualise themselves.”

On his career:

“It’s not work, it’s pleasure. That’s why I feel so guilty. Everybody else does work — I have too much fun.”

“The problem is I’m not a good photographer. To be perfectly honest, I’m too shy. Not aggressive enough. Well, I’m not aggressive at all. I just loved to see wonderfully dressed women, and I still do. That’s all there is to it.”

“I go out every day. When I get depressed at the office, I go out, and as soon as I’m on the street and see people, I feel better. But I never go out with a preconceived idea. I let the street speak to me.”

On fashion week:

“You’re invited to see the work of artists, great artists. Think about what they’re showing, look at the clothes, look at what they do for the body.”

“All the people who tell the truth are in the last rows.”

You will be deeply missed Mr Cunningham. There shall be no other like you.

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