Before there was The Sartorialist, Garance Doré, or Tommy Ton. Before the word ‘blog’ was invented and street style became a thing, there was Bill Cunningham: the peripatetic, bike-riding fashion photographer who’s been chronicling snappy city denizens for over three decades. He’s not interested in big name labels or who you know. And you can keep the money, honey, because he hasn’t cashed a check since the ’50s. Bill Cunningham does it for the love. He hits the streets everyday, and week in and week out, his work in The New York Times Style section captures the city zeitgeist – the look and spirit of Gotham from cray cray community events (Santa Con suits!) to percolating trends (long gauzy skirts!) and Upper East Side galas (faboosh gowns at the Frick!).
Today, Richard Press’s documentary “Bill Cunningham New York” opens at the landmark Film Forum. It’s a spectacular, detailed and moving look at fashion’s most humble and dedicated servant. Tears welled as we watched Mr. Cunningham accept his award as an Officer in the Order of Arts and Letters in Paris. We gasped at his make-shift bed of photo file cabinets (our college dorm room looked swank by comparison). And we laughed out loud at his quirky, good-natured exclamations (“Let’s get snappin’ and crackin’!” and “Money is the cheapest thing!” are personal faves). Mostly, though, it was his mantra “He who seeks beauty will find it” that resonated. Bill Cunningham’s genuine joy, curiosity and passion to share the beauty all around him are simply inspiring.
So “get snappin’ and crackin’” and get your tix to Film Forum! The movie only runs a few weeks and this gem will sell out.