Tuesday, May 6, 2014


 Editta Sherman on a subway train to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden 1972

Parasols and primly preened ladies fill frames of monochrome as "street style" portraiture takes a theatrical twist. Bill Cunningham: Facades at the New York Historical Society showcases an 8-year project pairing fashion, photography and antique architecture. When a grade school girlfriend suggested we venture uptown this past weekend, I begrudgingly obliged (mostly because brunch was on the agenda!). I entered the exhibit expecting an assemblage of ladies flaunting fashions of the day, under the assumption that 'facades' referenced style as a form of self-expression. Instead, I became acquainted with one man's subtle contribution to his "cause" for preservation. It was interesting to see the premeditated posturing of Cunningham's deliberate documentary.

Opening Wall of Bill Cunningham: Facades

Army veteran, college drop-out, milliner and street photographer Bill Cunningham spent the better part of 1968 to 1976 shopping at thrift stores and subsequently posing, positioning and photographing models against NYC landmarks. Fellow photographer and Carnegie Hall neighbor Editta Sherman became the focal point of many of the photographs. Together, famous facades and 'grass roots glamour' became memorialized through Cunningham's lens. From Madison Square Garden to the old Waldorf Astoria, Sherman and other models posed in attire appropriate of when the landmark was built. Bill Cunningham: Facades is showing at the NY Historical Society until June 15th.

According to Bill Cunningham, "Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life. I don't think you could do away with it. It wold be  like doing away with civilization" 
(L) Paris Theater (built in 1947) / (R) Not sure where this one was--any ideas?

The middle room of the exhibit

Wall in the ending room of the exhibit

The Empire State Building (completed 1931)

Entrance of the exhibit

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