I woke up this morning to the news that Bill Cunningham had passed away after complications due to a stroke.
In the world of fashion, which is quite competitive and often cold, Bill Cunningham was a breath of fresh air. And today the world has lost a true legend, and a beautiful human being.
I watched the Bill Cunningham New York documentary a few years back and was so inspired and touched by Bill’s warmth, passion and authenticity.
He was the father of street style photography, working at The Times for nearly 40 years and documenting the ever changing fashions on the street.
It is funny that Bill himself had become somewhat of a celebrity, something I imagine he would’ve abhorred, but to be snapped by Bill was the highest of regard in the fashion world. Vogue editor Anna Wintour herself said, “We all dress for Bill”.
When I found out the other day that Bill had suffered a stroke I said to my friend “We all know that inevitably we will die, but if you could wish for a human being to live forever it would be someone like Bill Cunningham”
I said this because in a world so full of greed, Bill Cunningham shared his work with us because it was his true passion, and only because it was his true passion. Not to become famous, not to make millions, he was known to rip up cheques for years, claiming that “Money’s the cheapest thing. Liberty and freedom is the most expensive.”
He was a true example of an incredibly talented and kind human being. He had an amazing eye, was a hard working man, and undeniably influential and important in the fashion world, but always stayed humble.
Not only did he inspire us by documenting years of street fashion but he reminded us to do what we love, to have fun with fashion, and to live life with passion, authenticity and creativity.
We will miss you Bill Cunningham. Thank you for sharing your work with us.
Image from The New York Times