More Than a FaçadeThe New York Historical Society is currently honoring Bill Cunningham with a small but beautifully curated selection of his Facades photos. Scrupulously photographing historical and iconic New York City architecture as a backdrop for fashions of the period at which the various buildings were constructed, Mr. Cunningham keeps the importance of preservation in our minds as well as showing a history of fashion and costume that is completely unique and inventive.
This show was delightful to see and it is clear that Mr. Cunningham and his former muse, Editta Sherman (who passed away at the age of 101 in 2013), enjoyed each other and their mutual project.
Combing the city’s antique stores, auctions and thrift shops, they spent years together gathering period clothing and setting up photo shoots on weekends. The photos express a joie de vivre that is both innocent and knowing at the same time.
My favorite photo shows Editta, in full Victorian garb, riding the subway to the photo location. It was said they took public transportation to all locations so as not to wrinkle the costumes. They made quite a pair as surprised onlookers wondered what they must be up to.
See Bill Cunningham: Facades before it closes on June 15.
Special Note: Feature Image for this blog post also courtesy of New York Historical Society.