The New York Times reports that Bill Cunningham has passed away at age 87 after a recent stroke.
Cunningham spent nearly 40 years working as a fashion photographer for The New York Times. He became an integral and beloved part of the city's fashion scene—though, of course, his influence on the industry extended far beyond New York. "We all get dressed for Bill," Anna Wintour said in the 2011 documentary Bill Cunningham New York.
Immediately recognisable by his signature blue jacket, bicycle and ever-present smile, Cunningham was a champion of individuality. "A lot of people have taste," Cunningham said in the documentary, "but they don't have the daring to be creative. Here we are in an age of cookie-cutter sameness. There are a few that are rarities—someone who doesn't look like they were stamped out of ten million other people looking all the same."
Scroll down to see the touching ways the fashion industry is paying tribute to the legendary Bill Cunningham.
In his nearly 40 years working for @nytimes, Bill Cunningham was both a dedicated chronicler of fashion and an unlikely cultural anthropologist, one who used the changing dress habits of the people he photographed to chart the broader shift away from formality and toward something more individualistic. Bill put this way in an essay he wrote for @nytimes in 2002: “Fashion is as vital and as interesting today as ever. I know what people with a more formal attitude mean when they say they’re horrified by what they see on the street. But fashion is doing its job. It’s mirroring exactly our times.” #???? Did you ever spot #BillCunningham taking pictures of street style, or were you captured in one of his photos? We'd like to hear your story. Visit the link in our profile to tell us more. @dollyfaibyshev took this photo at New York Fashion Week last year.
A blue jacket and a winning smile: those two Bill Cunningham signatures will be sorely missed, but it's the talented photographer's eternal quest for capturing true style and documenting uniqueness that leaves such a great void in the industry. He was an all-seeing eye and the streets of New York--and beyond--will not be the same without him.
"Fashion is quick to judge. Criticism drives sales. Trends come in, styles go out. Taste — that you either have it or you don’t — is part of the appeal. But 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder' never held more weight than when Bill did the holding." @amilli0naire remembers Bill Cunningham, who died today at 87.
What's your favourite Bill Cunningham memory? Share with us in the comments below, and revisit his legendary work by buying the 2011 documentary, Bill Cunningham New York.
Opening Image: Getty Images