September in New York City marks the beginning of the fall season, but the fashion industry is already looking ahead towards spring with the showcasing of Spring/Summer 2020 collections at New York Fashion Week (NYFW). To celebrate the start of a new fashion season, we’re highlighting the work of world famous fashion photographer, Bill Cunningham (1929-2016).
Cunningham gained notice as a fashion photographer for the New York Times “On the Street” and “Evening Hours” weekly columns in the late 1970’s and published his own body of work in the book Facades in 1978. The project, which he undertook with his friend and fellow photographer Editta Sherman (a.k.a. “The Duchess of Carnegie Hall”), took eight years to accomplish. It was featured in an exhibit in N-YHS in 1977 (and again in 2018) before being published in Facades a year later.
The Bill Cunningham “Facades” Photograph Collection (PR 307) at N-YHS features images from that project. The collection consists of 91 photographs of women, mainly Sherman, in period costumes posing in front of buildings throughout New York City of the same era. Cunningham was known for his street photography, capturing fashion as worn and presented by the public instead of fashion models and editors. “Street style” is now a major component of the fashion industry, especially during major events as NYFW. Bill Cunningham led the way as a pioneer in street style and photography.
This post is by Charina Castillo, Rights & Reproductions Assistant.