Bill Cunningham – New York

Who wouldn’t love being pulled to the front of the line at a Paris fashion show, and have a publicist dismiss the officious doorwoman with the line: “Please, he’s the most important person on earth”?

The delicious irony in the documentary Bill Cunningham New York is that Cunningham, the shabby octogenarian photographer in the scene described above, might be the only man in the fashion industry who couldn’t care less. This is sad and sweet documentary tells the story of the now 86-year-old fashion photographer for The New York Times. For decades Cunningham has followed the same routine. By day, he takes countless photographs on the streets of New York, of women (or men) who happen to be sporting a nascent fashion trend. By night, he shoots society events. These is punctuated with fashion shows, and working trips to Paris. He uses an old-fashioned film camera (his editors must love that); he wears the same low-key, almost shabby outfit, including his signature blue coat (which is revealed to be the same worn by street cleaners in Paris); and he rides an old bicycle through the hair-raising traffic. But what is intriguing is his personal life — indeed, the absence of one. Totally unaffected by the glamour and wealth surrounding him, and universally loved, Cunningham seems quite without ego. The documentary touches on his sexuality and faith with great tenderness — a portrait entirely befitting the man. Watch ‘Spring according to Bill Cunningham’ below and get your ‘Bill Cunningham – New York’ documentary here  

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