• Bc1
  • Bc3
  • Bc4
  • Bc5
  • Bc6
Film

Bill Cunningham New York

Posted by Liv Siddall,

“It’s as true today as it ever was. He who seeks beauty, will find it,” the wise words of the two-wheeled-wonder that is Bill Cunningham. After watching the much-anticipated upcoming film Bill Cunningham New York I can tell you now it will be devoured by all fashion-addicts and photography buffs – or, really, anyone that has ever seen a photograph or worn clothes before. In a moving, and sensationally inspirational film we take a deeper look into the fast-paced, passion-enthused life of one of the most low-maintenance and well-loved men in New York.

Due to his omnipresent style, you may recognise Bill Cunningham: an elderly man in a cornflower blue workman’s jacket, clutching at a manual Pentax, speeding around New York on his trusty bicycle for the best part of every day of the year. Sound familiar? Bill Cunningham is the man responsible for the On The Street section of the New York Times.

Dedicated wholly to street fashion, Bill captures every single person who, in his eyes, is oozing some kind of style. By cycling all over the streets of New York from dawn til late – no days off, and sometimes going to over three events a night – he is the only man who can physically watch and document exactly what people are wearing, thus making his opinion one of the the most trusted style guides in the city.

As Anna Wintour puts it at the start of the film: “He’s been documenting me since I was a kid, it can be one snaps, two snaps, or he ignores you…which is death.” High praise indeed.

Bill Cunningham leads an incredibly modest life. You may ask yourself in disbelief whether it is possible that Bill, one of the most influential, prolific fashion photographers of the century, does actually sleep on a fold-out bed on a floor of his tiny Carnegie Hall studio; has never wined or dined on the job; and has been known to rip up pay cheques (“If you don’t take money they can’t tell you what to do!”).

But, off course, it’s all true. And it is astounding.

A young Bill was given his first camera by David Montgomery and instructed to “use it like a pen” – advice he wholeheartedly took on board and stuck to religiously throughout his career. Uninterested in celebrities who’ve been given free clothes, Bill concentrates on those who dress themselves daily and step out on to the catwalk of the street.

It is no surprise to hear that designers keep tabs on On The Street as inspiration for their future collections – Bill practically does all the research they need, weekly and for free.

Uplifting documentaries sometimes tend to end on a little bit of an emotional note, and this is no exception. Get ready for the realisation that Bill has never been in love, is about to be evicted from his home, and keeps getting his bikes stolen (he’s been through 28 of them so far) but on the whole, this really is an honest, inspirational account of one of the most hardworking, passionate and fascinating men on the planet.

Ls-300

Posted by Liv Siddall

Liv joined It’s Nice That as an intern in 2011 and worked across online, print, events and latterly Features Editor before leaving in May 2015.

Most Recent: Fashion View Archive

  1. Aleksandra_kingo_la_monda_its_nice_that_list

    By now fashion photography has fully embraced awkward imagery. The tasteful and the kitsch sit side-by-side in such a way that strange juxtapositions, unnatural body language and odd props can all add up to make a successful image. Lithuanian photographer Aleksandra Kingo takes on some of these ideas in her eye-catching, surreal pictures.

  2. Snarkitecture_it's_nice_that_list

    Following their installation for COS at last month’s Salone del Mobile, Alex Mustonen and Daniel Arsham’s experimental design studio Snarkitecture has branched out into clothing with its latest project, a capsule collection with custom print company Print All Over Me (PAOM). But these are not ordinary clothes, and in true Snarkitecture style, they find the unexpected in the familiar.

  3. Bfc-lfw-list

    If you’ve ever stepped through the gateway from the Strand to Somerset House’s inner square during one of the two week-long periods each year when it’s transformed for London Fashion Week, you’ll know that it’s a hallowed space. Somerset House has become synonymous with the British Fashion Council’s biannual spectacle, which sees it transformed into an enormous arena for models, press, peacocks and show-goers. So it comes as quite a surprise that after six years of hosting the event at Somerset House the British Fashion Council has announced that LFW will now take place at Soho’s Brewer Street Carpark.

  4. Karenelson-timwalker-itsnicethat-list

    As It’s Nice That’s resident fashion expert (ahem) I know a strong editorial shoot when I see one, and this one for Vogue’s May edition is as good as they get. In it you’ll see Karen Elson wearing all manner of clothing by various clothes-makers – all of which look stunning. But stuff the outfits, this is all about the locations and the luxurious referencing of south Asian iconography. Tim, Samantha Bryant and Duffy travelled all the way to Bhutan to shoot Karen in the Himalayas alongside a supporting cast of masked imps and Bhutanese locals, weaving a surreal narrative of pagan mysticism and evoking an atmosphere akin to the hippie trail.

  5. List

    If a theatrical tradition can last for over four centuries you can assume it’s pretty damn entertaining, and Japan’s Kabuki culture has done just that. It’s one of the country’s traditional performing arts, combining music, dance, elaborate costumes and striking face paint to riotous effect, with extremely dramatic results.

  6. David-james-uma-thurman-int-list

    Lucien Freud, Kate Moss, Joaquin Phoenix…it reads like that list of dream dinner party guests you have to reel out in awkward “getting to know you" games. But it’s more than that: this all-star list is just a sliver of the cast that creative director David James has worked with over the years. David has been creative director at AnOther Magazine for the past decade, creating iconic images with photographers including Craig McDean, Willy Vanderperre and Nick Knight. If you missed out on getting the mags IRL, don’t fret: today sees the launch of Everything that Matters – an online retrospective of David’s editorial work. It makes for a lovely little scroll, even if it does make us feel pretty old to think that the time that’s passed since 2005 is retrospective-worthy.

  7. Prada-int-list-4

    Large-scale luxury brands tend to be fairly guarded when it comes to their extensive archives, guarding them under the technological equivalent of those two cheeky goblins in Labyrinth. Not Prada. Recognising the truth in the notion that sharing is caring, the house has just published the whole of its archive online, in a carefully tailored site which makes it entertaining AND easily navigable.

  8. Mosaert-lookbook-int-list

    If like me you were regularly dragged off to your local Olan Mills photographic studio as a child to have family portraits taken of you and your siblings looking unusually clean and composed in front of a dappled background, you might be similarly drawn to Mosaert’s new lookbook. Carefully constructed like the most stylish family pics, they feature a whole bunch of models immaculately robed in Mosaert’s bright new collection, and there’s something innately compelling about them.

  9. Kenzo-ss15-list-int

    If you thought that writing a Printed Pages feature about KENZO – in which I delve in glorious technicolour detail into the brand’s past collaborations over the course of a 12-page spread – would stop my perpetual blathering on about them, then I’m afraid you thought wrong. It’s a new season, meaning a whole new visual campaign, and as ever I’m incapable of reining in my admiration for the masterminds behind KENZO’s art direction.

  10. List

    Assistant editor Maisie Skidmore chimes in on the debate about the presence of full-frontal male nudity in Rick Owens’ AW15 collection which showed in Paris a few days ago. Do you think penises on the catwalk are a step too far? Leave your comments below!

  11. List

    We’ve a certain bias towards French creative studio Bonsoir Paris. We’ve collaborated with them on projects in Milan, been stunned by their window displays at Selfridges at the start of the year and then they shot the cover of the Autumn issue of Printed Pages, firmly cementing our love for them forever more. It’s their restless experimentation that makes them so interesting; for a group of three guys their ability to push materials in new and exciting directions is unparalleled and they bring fresh perspectives to materials we’ve seen used a thousand times before.

  12. List

    I have to confess that the name 02gb didn’t ring any bells for me, but it turns out the photographic duo, which is made up of Max von Gumppenberg and Patrick Bienert, is a pretty big fish on the German fashion scene. Looking through their portfolio this comes as no surprise; they’ve worked for the likes of Hussein Chalayan, Kostas Murkudis, and shot numerous times for Vogue. It’s their lookbook for couture master Valentino that we were seduced by however.

  13. 4list.-charles-jourdan_-spring-1976-%c2%a9-guy-bourdin

    In the summer of 1979, several legs boarded a ferry travelling from Dieppe to Plymouth. However unlike most other legs making the journey, these didn’t have any feeling in their toes.