Bill Cunningham New York comes to Asheville

You might think you’re not into fashion. Sure, fine, whatever. That doesn’t mean Bill Cunningham New York isn’t for you.

Cunningham, the octogenarian fashion photographer for The New York Times arguably started streetstyle photography, at least in a brandable way. Hardly a fashion plate himself, the intrepid fotog does much of his shooting and scouting from his bicycle, casing the streets of New York City for interesting characters in eye-catching apparel. (He, himself, favors a blue workshirt most days and a plastic poncho in rainy weather.)

Check out one of his many “On The Street” video blogs here.

According to Cunningham’s bio, “During his years as a writer, he contributed significantly to fashion journalism, introducing American audiences to Azzedine Alaia and Jean-Paul Gaultier. While working at the Tribune and at Women’s Wear Daily, he began taking photographs of fashion on the streets of New York. As the result of a chance photograph of Greta Garbo, he published a group of his impromptu pictures in the Times in December 1978, which soon became a regular series.”

And now Cunningham’s work and the man himself are immortalized on documentary film. It screens at Fine Arts Theatre this weekend only, opening Friday. Watch the trailer here:

Anna Wintour (editor-in-chief of American Vogue) says, in the film, “We all get dressed for Bill,” but the photographer has never been especially dazzled by prestige. Read a great account here of one woman who, shortly after being called out for a sartorial faux pas, became the subject of a Cunningham photo based on her style daring.

Most important to Streetstyle bloggers and photographers, Cunningham brings both artistry and validity to a life-long passion for people watching. 

Check out how we’re carrying on Cunningham’s vision with Asheville Streetstyle. Want to see the film? We’ll announce an Asheville Streetstyle field trip to view Bill Cunningham New York later this week on our Facebook page.

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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts writer and editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs.

15 thoughts on “Bill Cunningham New York comes to Asheville

  1. JonathanBarnard

    Bill Cunningham’s “on the street” slide show voice-overs are one of the things I’ve missed most about the NYT (since they started charging for access). He always just sounds so enthusiastic.

  2. Bjorn

    Davyne – there’s nothing wrong with our ‘local streetstyle spotters’ this obviously isn’t NYC & street-style is, just as the name implies, anything worn by people on the street.

  3. I disagree, a publication should use their power to promote a higher awareness, not constantly promote the lowest common denominator. Here’s hoping Cunningham’s eye is educational.

  4. Bjorn

    Davyne – “a publication should use their power to promote a higher awareness”

    A Higher awareness of what exactly, designs that appeal to your sense of aesthetics? Given the size of Asheville & the time they have to maintain Streetstyles, they do a decent job with what’s available.

    Consider getting a subscription to one of the European Vogues or Harpers.

  5. Bjorn

    Davyne – I know Bill, & there’s nothing he loves more than shooting in Paris, as well on the streets of NYC. Apparently, you missed my point.

  6. Bjorn

    Not valid – because Asheville is the Southern equivalent of NYC or Paris? Maybe you can offer to volunteer & play dress up on slow days for Streetstyles staff.

  7. This was a great little flic, and the folks viewing were quite individualistic in their fashion statements. It was fun to see who was there wearing what, while viewing this streetstyle fashion icon

  8. Big Al

    So New Yawk street style is “highly aware” while Asheville’s “promotes the lowest common demoninator”. Do you MEAN to be such a snob, Davyne?

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