Bill Cunningham Passes Away at 87
After suffering a stroke, the legendary fashion photographer has died.
Bill Cunningham, known for his legendary work as a street style photographer, has passed away at the age of 87. He suffered a stroke and was hospitalized shortly prior to his death. Known for his pioneering vision, Mr. Cunningham had for the past 40 years been documenting fashion for The New York Times. Even before the modern understanding of street style was established, the icon had been capturing fashion on the streets of New York and beyond for decades.
Easily recognized in his hallmark utilitarian uniform comprised of khakis and a blue worker’s jacket, Mr. Cunningham was uncompromisingly devoted to his work. His video series “On the Street” showed his eye-catching photos and extensive knowledge of trends, narrated by his charismatic voice. The 2010 documentary Bill Cunningham: New York highlighted glimpses of his daily life as he traversed across the city on his bicycle, attending up to 20 gala events per week.
Despite covering such high-profile events, however, Mr. Cunningham was diverse in his work — documenting everything from front row at fashion shows to people heading to work, and was even an accomplished hat designer in the 1950’s. He would refuse accepting a single glass of water from any of the events that he attended, for he solely aimed to be a true observer wherever he was. Guided by this principle, he tore up cheques he received from magazines and would say, “Money’s the cheapest thing. Liberty and freedom is the most expensive.” He was named a Living Landmark by the New York Landmarks Conservancy in 2009 and bestowed the Legion d’Honneur in France in 2008.
- The New York Times