Bill Cunningham

New York Fashion Week - Bill Cunningham

At work, pic by Shelbyrodri

Dear readers, I don’t know about how your week is going so far, but I am in need of inspiration. I’m sure you’ve all seen the headlines about the passing of the iconic Bill Cunningham. There is a lot of talk about his legacy, specifically about his ground-breaking photography. His drive for capturing the best in street fashion shined a light on the best of us. Bill celebrated the individual – the woman who decided after a frazzling day to go for it and pair her aqua pumps with a 1960s canary yellow gown or the gal who got ready for that big interview with a vintage brooch on a structured blouse.

Bill showed us ourselves on our finest days. His work spoke to the masses because that was his subject matter. He never relegated himself to the limited, “picture perfect” allure of the celebrity realm. Bill went where the real fashion was happening; where people were making conscious choices about what to wear and how to present themselves to the world. Where budgets were a real thing. Where vintage played with modern. Bill captured the intersection of fancy and realism.

Check out some of his greatest quotes below for your mid-week inspiration. And please share your thoughts on vintage fashion in the comments. Oh – and for those of us needing an extra special boost, read this article from the NY Times “Bill on Bill.” The master in his own words.

Everybody I saw I was able to record, and that’s what it’s all about. I realized that you didn’t know anything unless you photographed the shows and the street, to see how people interpreted what designers hoped they would buy. I realized that the street was the missing ingredient.

Bill Cunningham photographed by Jiyang Chen

Showing the next generation

Money’s the cheapest thing. Liberty and freedom is the most expensive. – Bill Cunningham on why he ripped up paychecks from magazines

When I’m photographing, I look for the personal style with which something is worn — sometimes even how an umbrella is carried or how a coat is held closed. At parties, it’s important to be almost invisible, to catch people when they’re oblivious to the camera — to get the intensity of their speech, the gestures of their hands. I’m interested in capturing a moment with animation and spirit.

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.

Now let’s all go out and make some great street fashion statements every day in Bill’s honor. Create great fashion moments with vintage. Create great fashion moments with your smile. Just be sure to go out and treat that sidewalk that the evolving runway it is!

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