This season at New York Fashion Week, one person is distinctly conspicuous by his absence: Bill Cunningham – the city’s beloved and now sadly late street style photographer who passed away in June.
This is the first NYFW since his death and yesterday, more than 75 photographers, many of whom would have worked alongside Cunningham, paid their respects to their fallen comrade – in a very unique way. As they went about their normal fashion week business, they donned blue workman’s jackets – the type favoured by Cunningham and which has become synonymous with him.
But it didn’t end there – another tribute was also held yesterday, at Bryant Park which was one of Cunningham’s favourite outposts. 50 of the park’s bistro chairs were arranged in the shape of 35-mm camera, while the backs of the chairs themselves were covered with blue fabric – similar to that of Cunningham’s trademark jacket.
The most prolific documenter of New York’s people and their style, the city’s mayor Bill de Blasio arranged for the corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street ‘Bill Cunningham Corner’ to be renamed in his honour, following a Change.org petition. “Bill Cunningham turned our sidewalks into runways and New Yorkers into models,” de Blasio said. “His vivid photos captured our city’s diversity in every sense of the word, and helped define New York as the fashion capital of the world.”
Cunningham may be gone but, as is clear from these events, he’s in no danger of being forgotten.
Head here to read street style photographers’ written tributes to Cunningham.
Follow Ted Stansfield on Twitter here @ted_stansfield