"Please, he's the most important person in the world"
Says a man letting Bill Cunningham into a Paris fashion show he was being kept out from.
But, I believe, most people have really never heard of him. That was, at least, untill a movie was made about him. I went to see Bill Cunningham New York a few nights ago, and it was a really intresting, moving and fascinating documentary. It tells the story of 80-something-year-old Bill, who was taking street style pictures when Scott Schuman was still a little kid and Tommy Ton was barely in his parent's mind. While he was working as a writer for the Chicago Tribune and Women's Wear Daily he started taking photographs of street fashion. He got his break in 1978 when a chance picture of Greta Garbo was published on the New York Times. It was the first time a celebrity's picture was published without their permission. This was the start of the columns he has had since: On the Street and Evening Hours. The first is a collection of street pictures that idenitfy one particular trend, the second gathers pictures from different social events in New York.
here are a couple of his latest columns:
But what makes the movie fascinating is the portait of the man and his lifestyle. Even if he counts Anna Wintour and Micheal Kors between his friendly acquaintances (his idea of friend is a little blurry) his lifestyle is anything but fashionable. He lived (untill recently) in teeny tiny studio in Carnegie Hall filled with cabinets (his archive), goes around the city with a stolen bicycle, develops his film at a neighborhood store, wears a blue jacket actually made for the french street workers and when his rain cape breaks he mends it with tape. At any event he goes to he doesn't sit, eat or even drink a glass of water. And even at his own party for being awarded the title Officier de l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture he wears his blue jacket and spends his time taking pictures of the guests. After all, all he needs is the only love of his life: taking pictures of the most beatiful things he sees.