Tag Archives: street style

Fashion Photographer Bill Cunningham

2 Jan

“The wider world perceives fashion as sometimes a frivolity that should be done away with in the face of social upheavals and problems that are enormous. The point is, in fact, that fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life.”
-Bill Cunningham, in Bill Cunningham New York.

(photo by Patrick Demarchelier)

Bill Cunningham New York was, in my opinion, the sweetest movie of the year. I’m a sucker for documentaries about artists, anyway, but watching a man so genuinely in love with his subject was thoroughly satisfying.  One of his peers in the film points out one thing that I think is specific to Bill Cunningham’s “On the Street” feature in the Times: the particular kindness of his camera. When Bill Cunningham photographs a street fashion trend, it is with a respectful attention, something I think is unusual in the fashion world. So many people like to point at fashion with criticism, as if their criticism is a mark their own superior tastes, but for decades Cunningham’s been documenting the comings and goings of all sorts of styles, and never in such a way that anyone needs to have a black bar plastered over their faces to preserve their anonymity.  Everything is interesting, whether one understands it (or loves it) at first glance–or any other later glance, for that matter. Fashion is not a set of rules, it’s creativity, a far more complex conversation than simple “dos” and “don’ts” or “hits” and “misses”.   It’s full of texture and color and richness and variety, it can be startling or elegant, make you gasp with its grace or instead with shock, it can baffle and amuse, and for that, I give both Bill Cunningham’s photo career and the film documenting it two thumbs up.

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Inspiration: Bergdorf Goodman

21 Dec

The window displays at Bergdorf Goodman are eye-catching year round, but at the holidays I find them a special treat. This season’s windows are no disappointment, with an emphasis on textures and lush materials. I’m a fan of the 1930’s style mannequins, in particular.

But the best part of the experience for me, today, was the synchronicity of this fabulously dressed young woman in a sheepskin vest, stepping up to the “Carnival of the Animals” window to closely photograph the wool-covered sheep in the display. The texture of the cabling on the knit of her sleeve, compared to the knitting in the animals in the window, the repeated motifs on either side of the glass….that is more beautiful than a mere window display on its own!

(click to enlarge)

Life imitates art…imitates life.