If you thought the fashion world was saturated by bloggers, just ask Grazia’s Style Hunter, Tommy Ton of Jak & Jil, The Sartorialist or Facehunter about the recent pandemonium surrounding street style at fashion week, and you’ll soon be informed of just how over-subscribed the market is. There’s no denying it's an aggressive business, and finding the best outfits first or spotting a look that another photographer may have missed feels like gold dust. But there’s one man who has been ahead of the street style game for 50 years, and can be credited with trail-blazing the phenomenon of documenting the inspiring real-life outfits and the clothes of fabulous fashion insiders (both men and women).
At 81, Bill Cunningham’s legendary columns for The NY Times, ‘On the Street’ and ‘Evening Hours’, where, despite professing to be not much of a artistic photographer, he chronicles the latest trends like no one else and will forever be an inspiration to other photographers, stylists, journalists and trend researchers alike, as well as those readers simple looking for ideas on how to style themselves up.
“It isn’t what I think, it’s what I see,” Mr. Cunningham told the NY Times, “I let the street speak to me. You’ve got to stay on the street and let the street tell you what it is.” As an admirer and former colleague of Mr Cunningham’s, Art Director Richard Press decided to turn the lens onto street style’s forefather back in 2000 and to document how the master works. It was a lengthy eight year process of persuasion, as Press explained, “He just pooh-poohed the idea. He couldn’t entertain it. He said, ‘Why me? There’s no subject here.’”
But in 2001, Press managed to follow Bill’s movements around NYFW, reluctantly (he hates the spotlight) he obliged, and the film crew were suitably discreet. This, plus other moments, result in an 88 minute documentary film “Bill Cunningham New York”. So far it's only got three screenings (outrage!) - and they're all in New York, finishing tonight. But, following the runaway success of that other fashion industry film The September Issue, (none of that faux Ugly Betty nonsense) it’s perfect timing to feed the zeitgeist and insatiable appetite for street style. And as you can probably guess, we’re pretty excited to see it - after all, this is the man that Anna Wintour proclaimed “we all get dressed for."
by Hannah Almassi, Junior Fashion News Editor