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Bill, Please

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In the bygone days before street-style blogs, there was just one man whose eye you hoped your outfit would catch. That’s The New York Times‘ Bill Cunningham, of course, a beloved staple on the fashion circuit for the last 50-plus years and the man who pioneered the art of snapping fashion trends as they happen on the street, at the gala, or in the front row. So no surprise that last night, several of his acolytes turned up at the CFDA and Calvin Klein-hosted screening of the documentary Bill Cunningham New York to pay tribute. “Of course we had to see this film,” Garance Doré said. Her date, Scott Schuman (a.k.a. the Sartorialist) agreed: “I think any street-style photographer is familiar with his work.”

This was a tribute paid in absentia: The modest Cunningham has made it mostly a point not to attend screenings of the film. But he was practically the only person in fashion not present. Calvin Klein’s Francisco Costa and Italo Zucchelli (above, with BCNY producer Philip Gefter and director Richard Press), Carolyn Murphy, Rag & Bone’s Marcus Wainwright, Bergdorf Goodman’s Linda Fargo, and editors like Grace Coddington and Sally Singer all made a Monday evening appearance. So did model Ginta Lapina, who saved her last night out before fashion week fittings for the documentary. “I love movies. It’s one of my favorite things to do in cold weather,” the 21-year-old blonde told us before the lights dimmed. “I see him all the time during the shows and he’s always so sweet. But then I watched the trailer before I came here and I’m excited to find out a different side.”

It’s that different side that the doc highlights, particularly Cunningham’s deep commitment to his craft. “You see him at all the events, but you didn’t know about his integrity,” Costa marveled. “One of the most amazing things is his honesty. It’s beyond inspirational.”

Photo: Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com

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