In the opulent venue of The Soho Hotel, fashionistas, photographers and socialites alike gathered for the Grazia/Urbancode UK film premiere of 'Bill Cunningham New York', one very anticipated year after its US release. It’s ‘The September Issue’ of this year, but it’s better. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll come out loving Bill Cunningham.
It was a glamorous affair with wine aplenty, blinding flashbulbs and perfect opportunities for people watching. We spotted Mulberry bags, Issa dresses (Irish presenter Laura Whitmore was in a gorgeous maxi with the most daring-but-brilliant slit) and Louboutins all round. If only Bill was there himself to snap up all the Grazia style! DJ/Model/Presenter Jameela Jamil looked gorgeous in head-to-toe All Saints, rocking a studded leather skirt and her signature bowler hat while Fresh Meat-turned-movie star Zawe Ashton combined a chic look of Tommy Hilfiger, Gestuz and vintage. New York and fashion are a pair like no other and street-style veteran and innovator Bill Cunningham was at the forefront of it all – yes before the Sartorialist and Tommy Ton!
In a never-before-seen documentary on Bill – which took him eight years to agree to do – we finally see the man behind the lens. The cameos from the likes of Anna Wintour and Michael Kors were overshadowed by the quirky residents in Carnegie Hall Artist Studio from Bill to (adorable) fellow fashion photographer Editta Sherman. Bill is the man that put street fashion into the paper, with his New York Times ‘On The Street’ pages. Armed with his signature blue Parisian workman jacket, film SLR and 29th bicycle (28 have been stolen), you’ll still see him trailing the blocks of New York City for his next fashion find.
After the screening, Grazia’s Paula Reed was in conversation with legendary catwalk photographer Chris Moore (who aged 78, still has a front-row spot on the photographers ‘pit’ at the shows) about his life working with the likes of Cecil Beaton and capturing the collections from Yves Saint Laurent to Pierre Cardin in the Swinging Sixties. He fondly recalls Bill nicknaming him ‘Fish and Chips’ and talks about doing a job you love to keep fit (forget about the gym, he says!) A very articulate Zawe Ashton asked why photography is so different these days – back in Bill’s day, he would take photos of women to celebrate them rather than make fun of them and Chris answered, ‘yes, it was the golden age of photography and fashion’. Indeed it was. We just can’t get enough of Bill Cunningham, New York and street style. In the words of Bill, ‘fashion is the armour to survive everyday life’. So everyone, suit up!
Bill Cunningham New York is out March 16th