Riding his bicycle around the city’s streets in his blue French worker’s jacket, legendary photographer Bill Cunningham was a much-loved fixture on the New York fashion scene. Such was his influence that when he passed away in 2016, Mayor Bill de Blasio renamed a Fifth Avenue intersection ‘Bill Cunningham Corner’ (albeit temporarily).
Though 2010 documentary Bill Cunningham New York allowed us a closer glimpse at his storied life, Cunningham remained a fairly private, elusive character. until now, that is. As reported by The New York Times, a “secret” memoir discovered among his possessions has come to light, and will be published in the autumn. “It seems so unexpected – he really didn’t divulge anything about his life to his friends and his colleagues. He was so private,” Christopher Richards, an editor at Penguin Press told The Times.
Entitled Fashion Climbing, in reference to his ascent of the fashion ladder when he arrived in New York, the memoir tells the story of his strict Catholic upbringing and his early love of women’s clothing (“There I was, 4 years old, decked out in my sister’s prettiest dress,” he writes. “Women’s clothes were always much more stimulating to my imagination”), before detailing his enrolment in the army and his service in the Korean War, his move from Boston to NY, his work in millinery, and his eventual move into journalism.
We’re also sure that, despite his private nature, there will be some very interesting fashion revelations within the memoir's pages – but we’ll have to wait until September to find out.