This morning, I woke up to news about Bill Cunningham's passing. He was 87 years old and was said to be recently hospitalised for a stroke.
He started photographing people on the street during World War II, long before Humans of New York street style blogging even came into existence. He has since become a Fashion Industry icon, and is always there front and centre at industry events. At Fashion Week all over the world, he is given Front Row privileges, instead of having to stand in the photographers' pit. He travels on his bicycle and is instantly identifiable with his inconspicuous blue nylon windbreaker/jacket and crossbody bag. To the uninitiated, he may seem like a Regular Joe, or even grandpa in his more recent years, but he has been awarded the Legion d'Honneur by the French government due to the significant ways in which he has contributed to the industry. Despite this, he doesn't just focus on fashionistas and fashionmistas - he also captures people with a "non-conventional" fashion aesthetic, and is credited for turning the streets of New York into a fashion runway.
Bill Cunningham, you are the original Street Style photographer way before the term was even coined, before anyone even knew what it is, and long before it even became a thing. You are, and always will be a legend and an important part of Fashion Industry History. In the years to come, other fashion show attendees and people in New York will never have the privilege of being photographed by you. May you Rest in Peace.
P.S. If you haven't watched the film about this icon, I suggest that you get your hands on a copy of the documentary, "Bill Cunningham, New York". Here, you will also always hear Anna Wintour utter the words, "we always get dressed for Bill".