Bill Cunningham – A Retrospective

Bill Cunningham - A Retrospective |

Originator of the cultural phenomenon of streetstyle photography, Bill Cunningham, passed away at the age of 87 in Manhattan on Saturday, June 25, 2016. A sweet and friendly person, Mr. Cunningham had a great eye for capturing the photojournalistic side of fashion, thus humanizing this seemingly clique-y and unpenetrable industry. From the high-end fashionistas to the everyday joes walking the streets of New York City, he appreciated it and captured it all.

Bill Cunningham was the fashion photographer for the New York Times for almost 40 years. He photographed everything – people on their way to work in skirt suits with running shoes, New Yorkers wandering around in fanny packs, Park Avenue princesses toting around Birkin Bags and many a fashion editor on their way to a runway show. A legend in his own right, Mr. Cunningham’s work was so well known that the French Government bestowed him with the Legion of Honour in 2008. In addition, Mr. Cunningham was so synonymous with Manhattan that he was designated a living landmark by the New York Landmarks Conservancy in 2009. This same year, the New Yorker described his two columns On The Street and Evening Hours New York’s official yearbook.

Bill Cunningham - A Retrospective |

Unmistakable in his blue windbreaker and khakis, zipping around on his trusty bike (which he replaced 30+ times over the space of his lengthy career thanks to theft and them simply giving out), he had a front row seat to fashion’s evolution over the decades. He noted that fashion went from general formality (ladies in dresses and gloves, men in suits and hats) to a more original, laid back and individualistic tone.

While Bill himself was no fashionista, he greatly appreciated fashion and snapped hundreds of thousands of pictures immortalizing old money blue bloods, rappers in Harlem, Margiela-wearing fashion insiders downtown to ladies who lunch at the Carlisle.

I will greatly miss Mr. Cunningham’s photographs and columns which really humanized New Yorkers. I loved how it both made me envious of the New York stylistas and made me laugh at the sometimes hideous and embarrassing outfits that confident and/or clueless Manhattanites donned about one of the world’s most stylish and vibrant cities. You owe it to yourself to watch Bill Cunningham New York, a wonderful documentary summarizing his career, adorable personality and photographic inspiration and process.  I’ve taken the liberty of including in this post some of Mr. Cunningham’s work – some of my favourite shots taken over his lengthy career with The New York Times.

I tip my hat to you, Mr. Cunningham. Rest well.

Bill Cunningham - A Retrospective |

Bill Cunningham - A Retrospective |

NY Times Leather NY Times Fashionistas NY Times Fargo NY Times Dresses NY Times Denim Bill C Chilvary

*All photos courtesy of the New York Times unless otherwise marked.



  1. Alice
    June 28, 2016 / 12:01 pm

    A beautiful tribute to the wonderful Mr. Cunningham, lovely post! He truly was a pioneer, he’ll be greatly missed.

    xo, alice / T Y P E N U

    • Dominique
      June 28, 2016 / 1:14 pm

      Thank you. As a little kid, I daydreamed of being photographed by him. Sigh. A true talent.

  2. June 28, 2016 / 12:46 pm

    RIP. Thank you for all you did in the fashion world .

    • Dominique
      June 28, 2016 / 2:58 pm

      Most definitely. A huge thank you for reading. xo

  3. Louisa
    June 28, 2016 / 3:48 pm

    Wow! Such a wonderful post. I’ve learned something new about streetstyle photography. He surely will be missed and remembered for a long time!

    • Dominique
      June 29, 2016 / 12:02 am

      Thanks for your comment, Louisa. I’m glad he was with us for such a long time!

  4. June 28, 2016 / 8:19 pm

    I saw on someone’s IG that he passed away and wanted to know his story. Thank you for sharing.

    • Dominique
      June 29, 2016 / 12:02 am

      Glad I could shed some light. Watch the Bill Cunningham documentary. It’s amazing…thanks for reading!

    • Dominique
      June 28, 2016 / 11:01 pm

      It really was. I hope they make a compilation book of his pictures!

  5. June 29, 2016 / 2:56 am

    A wonderful tribute! I’m embarrassed I hadn’t heard of him. His work looks legendary!!

  6. June 30, 2016 / 11:58 pm

    Did you change your hosting or something? I no longer get updates automatically from you….

    • Dominique
      July 4, 2016 / 11:46 am

      Hey Jeff! Nice to hear from you. Yes, sir. I moved over to Bluehost as I kept running out of memory on my account. I also wanted to pretty up my blog. Hope you and the fam are well and the move went smoothly!

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