We have heard Anna Wintour quoted many times saying, “We all get dressed for Bill.” I never quite understood what she meant or recognized the impact of Bill until I watched his documentary, “Bill Cunnigham New York.” I was amazed by both his actual work and work ethic. Some of the most famous photos we have ever seen and continue to see in the New York Times are credited to him. The way his eye catches trends, patterns and personal style is true art in my mind. You would think a man like this would have an ego, or even a descent apartment but NO – quite the opposite. He loves his work and feels no need to be compensated for it. The impression he gives is that any excess indulgence would negatively effect his work. Cunningham will not even except so much as a glass of water when he is working an event. You almost have to see it to believe it, but the famous Bill Cunningham lives in a studio apartment at Carnegie Hall filled with file cabinets, books and a bed. There is no kitchen and a communal bathroom is used in the hall. Cunnigham also rides his bike everywhere – rain or shine – and refuses to spend money on a new poncho that is destined to tear again. His solution – masking tape. Suprising. Yes. But then again so is everything about Bill Cunningham.
This documentary also provides interesting footage of many famous faces such as Anna Wintour, Annette de la Renta, Lady Astor, Iris Apfel, Patrick McDonald and my absolute favorite, Shail Upadhya (haven’t laughed that hard in a while)!
My Favorites quotes from Bill Cuningham – please don’t mind that they are slightly wrong and out of context!
“Fashion is not about the celebrity or person. It is all about the CLOTHES – fabric, fit, color, shape, and design.”
“Fashion is like modern day armour to help us with the battles of life and society”
“People have taste but not the guts to be daring”
“We all need to go to Paris at least once a year to train the eye”