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Chronicles a man who is obsessively interested in only one thing,the pictures he takes that document the way people dress. The 80-year-old New York Times photographer has two columns in the paper's Style section, yet nobody knows who he is. Written by
Fashion as art, on the street, fuelled by passion for life.
Wonderful film about the misunderstood and often contradictory peculiarities of the fashion world. Bill himself is an everyday man strikingly distinct from some of the outrageous fashions on display in contemporary New York yet he is respected ans one of the most enduring authorities on fashion today. His simple and discreet way of living as embodied by his spare and modest studio in Carnegie hall (a stark contrast in itself) illustrates Cunningham's principles on fashion itself: "It's not the celebrity, the spectacle, it's the clothes."
What is also insightful is how tends and set and grow organically out on the street, not on some fashion runway (although it remains a fascination for Bill). The idea that fashion is not just for the rich and famous, but for the everyday person is exemplified by the "bag ladies" of new york, the "water bottle", "baggy jeans", and 80s fashion; it's lovely to see Bill pay tribute to these somewhat eccentric trends in the column that also charts the who's who of high society in New York as if to say "these are our people, and this is our culture, no matter who you are."
Bill is a charming and enigmatic character, still going strong at 80(!) years and heartwarming to see with so much respect amongst his peers. The city of New York is a character itself as always, the variety of fashion and cultures is incredibly rich and entertaining. He shows that there are many good people in high society who donate themselves to charitable and artistic institutions; yet while he becomes involved in that world of riches he remains cautious about becoming too involved dedicating himself solely to the art of fashion.
While Bill concedes he may not have lived the ideal life (and I think the interviewer probes just a little too close), his life remains immensely rich from his friends and connections, one in which he has almost free rein to document his passions, ironically without the material things fashion itself can exemplify. He is such an enigmatic and joyous character that one can only believe his is greatly fulfilled by life, and only wrongly assume, he is missing out on anything.
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