Update: On Wednesday, July 6, New York City renamed the corner on which Bill Cunningham took the bulk of his photos—57th Street and 5th Avenue—”Bill Cunningham Corner.” The renaming ceremony was hosted by Alicia Glen, a Deputy Mayor of New York, Harold Koda, the former curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute and Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The New York Times. “Bill Cunningham turned our sidewalks into runways and New Yorkers into models,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “His vivid photos captured our city’s diversity in every sense of the word, and helped define New York as the fashion capital of the world.” The intersection’s renaming is only temporary, as permanent renaming takes extensive legislative action, but the mayor’s office has said it’s considering other, more lasting honors for the late photographer.
The New York Times fashion photographer Bill Cunningham died Saturday at the age of 87. Cunningham was revered for his street style photography, so much so that an entire documentary, Bill Cunningham New York, was released around his life and work in 2011. Having covered fashion for the The New York Times since the seventies, Cunningham stayed loyal to what drew him into the business to begin with—the clothes—throughout his long and fruitful career. He was famously understated and often rode his bike to events while donning a nondescript blue smock, and he was also strictly adverse to the trend of celebrity worship that prioritized fame over style. In this way, he was a rare breed who pioneered a new and now ubiquitous approach to fashion, and his loss will be sorely felt by all those who prized his work.