It’s the rare that the death of a fashion insider transcends mainstream culture. But the news of Bill Cunningham’s passing has grabbed headlines all over the globe.
Cunningham, a revered street style photographer who worked for the New York Times for over 40 years, was an official living New York landmark. In his signature blue jacket, he jetted around the city on his bicycle capturing candid shots of stylish city dwellers. His approach to street style laid the groundwork for today’s Instagram and Pinterest obsessions.
He started his career designing women’s hats and eventually transitioned into fashion journalism. From there, he picked up fashion photography. After snapping a candid shot of Greta Garbo, the New York Times picked him up and never looked back.
Cunningham is often celebrated for his ability to operate as an outsider while maintaining a profile as an in-demand insider. Fashion show attendees often rocked their boldest statements outside of fashion shows in the hopes of being captured by his lens. And those whom he photographed around the city felt a sense of honor and pride after garnering his stamp of approval.
Bill Cunningham wasn’t just a fashion icon. He was a cultural influencer whose lasting effects on all of us will be felt for years to come.