before the sartorialist...

...there was Bill Cunningham. In fact, there IS Bill Cunningham. And I love NYT for introducing an audio slide show version of his On The Street photo features of New York street fashion. It's become a pleasure for me to look through his photographs of whatever fashion moment catches his fancy that week, accompanied by his always enthusiastic, always thoughtful commentary in his wry, slightly hoarse voice.

This week, his eyes landed on people wearing scarves in the middle of summer -

Looks like Singaporeans aren't the only ones mad enough to defy hot weather for scarf style. But unlike my cynical take, which is that people in Singapore who wear scarfs do it for purely stylistic reasons, Mr Cunningham gives these guys the benefit of the doubt -

"I think the idea is not only the style element, it has to do with the air-conditioning in the subways, the commuter trains, and of course, the offices...and you see, it's directed fashion.

"This is just a fascinating first I thought oh, they imitating the Arab desert countries, in the fact that people wear a very gossamer wool gown to keep the heat out from the body, and not letting the heat in, like we wear heavy clothes in the winter, to keep the cold out. But that wasn't it at all. I think it has more to do with style and air-conditioning."

Well, I'm still a little doubtful about the practicality of it - no doubt it comes in useful in our freezing air-conditioning here, but to keep it looped around your neck in the heat of the day? It's a look I like, but can't bring myself to try for fear or passing out under the sun.

But anyway, to go off tangent slightly, I enjoy listening to Mr Cunningham's brief monologues and the way they make me think about fashion (check out the ones about summer dresses, pencils, and heels!).

I've noticed a couple of bloggers doing the video thing lately and i was intrigued - what would they talk about that they couldn't put down in words?

Well I'm sorry to say I wasn't too blown away by the videos, which were too self-expressive for me - in the sense that they were too much about the "self", and I didn't really take anything away from it.

I think for Mr Cunningham, there is something to comment on - his pictures, a theme - whereas for these bloggers, it's on the random side, and whatever they were saying or doing was not interesting for me.

Photo taken from "On the Street: Muffled"


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enc said…
It's really great to know that someone else is out there. This guy does nice work.
designerman said…
bill cunningham was on the corner of 57th and 5th taking pictures of interesting people when i moved to new york (which is, shockingly, decades ago). nice to see him ramp up the visibility in the NYT.

the guy must have amazing archives - at least 30 years worth of style.

meanwhile, i illustrate. check out my blog:

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