Facades brings together 128 of the best architectural settings and fashions from a 200-year period. Within the confines of Manhattan were found Egyptian temples and Russian cathedrals. Beaux-Arts mansions and Gothis Revival churches. Art Deco office buildings, and High Victorian department stores. Bill Cunningham started out in 1969, finding antique clothes in New York's thrift shops, street fairs and auctions, with no idea how far back he could go (he made it to 1770). These wonderful costumes are worn by Editta Sherman, "the Duchess of Carnegie Hall," as she poses for the camera in virtually every corner of Manhattan. Cunningham and the Duchess do away with the strict decorum and posture of the periods (and of fashion photography past and present) and capture in photographs and text an intelligent blend of fashion and architectural history, a spirit of playful animation, and the elusive sense of the past.
Celebrating Bill Cunningham marks the New-York Historical Societys recent acquisition of objects, personal correspondence, ephemera, and photographs that reflect the life and work of Bill Cunningham, one of the late 20th centurys most influential trend-spotters and style authorities. Showcasing a selection from Cunninghams Facades projecthis eight-year photographic project documenting New York Citys architectural and fashion history, shown at the Museum in 2014Celebrating Bill Cunningham also features photographs documenting his friendship with floral designer Toni Cimino, known as Suzette; a Cunningham bicycle; his Nikon camera; signature blue jacket; ephemera; and unforgettable William J hats.