The sincerest form of flattery.

When I did this series, in January 2009, I hadn't heard of the Sartorialist, didn't follow blogs, just knew Bill Cunningham's series in the Sunday New York Times Style section, which I'd been following all my life, it felt. I didn't know anything about him - I didn't even realise that it was one person doing this - that it was his own unique vision. It wasn't about his personality: he was not a star.

He was not a blogger. And neither was I.

Having the privilege to see a sneak preview of Bill Cunningham New York, the film of his life, made me realise that I had, when I embarked on my own personal journey three years ago, stepped into his shoes, his world. It feels profoundly spiritual, and sad, for me, because I can't be Bill. I threw myself into this with a passion that I can't sustain. The director and producer of the segment of the Culture Show (BBC) told me - when she called to ask about my experience - that he 'lives like a monk.' I am in awe of someone who can devote their life to their passion. And it was a passion for me, for a while. And then it became something else: it became about friendships - and frenemies, and fashion weeks and press days, and all the dark side that came with the blind ambition of some of the bloggers I came to know. And that's not what I set out to do.

So I tip my hat to Bill Cunningham, for rising above, and continuing to rise, weightless.

Bill Cunningham New York: click here for film screenings and information.


styleeast said...

This reminds me I haven't replied to your email yet, one word - work!! But also my home Internet is down and I'm getting RSI from my iPhone ;)

I must watch this Bill Cunningham film, his life and the origins of his work are so interesting. x

Fashionistable said...

Hey this is cool. Even had a similar layout to the NYT. He is a very special guy. Xxxx

ODYSSEY said...

"lives like a monk", wow...that is beyond dedication. i don't even have a word for it.

i must see this film.

not all things are meant to be forever passions. just like friendships - or, "friendships"..."frenemy-ships"...as it were. :)

your passion- for whatever you endeavor to do - is your success story, jill. always know that.

San said...

Great post.

Some things come and than leave our life. This is part of life. There are people like Bill who have only one passion and then there are people who have many, like a string of pearls and then there are people whose passions are all over the place. Nothing to worry about.

I used to belong to the last group. Now I have several parallel strings and I follow them while jumping between them. And I'm happy with it. If you are happy with your current passion, than everything is fine.

Have a great weekend.

Lauren@Styleseer said...

This is great, Jill. It really does look like Bill Cunningham's "On the Street".

I'm a long time fan of his and, like you, I'm even more in awe of him now that I know more about him. Maureen Dowd wrote a great op ed piece about him in the N.Y.Times on April 6, 2011 - just around the time the film was released in the US. Did you happen to read it? If not, check it out. I think you'll enjoy it.

adrielleroyale said...

I've never heard of him before, but just wanted to say hi as it's been a while :) I hope all is well with you!

Jessie in Fashion Limbo said...

Love you Jill and love what you do.

mtg said...


Alexandra said...

I completely agree with San - some people have many fashions arranged like a string of pearls, and although it is admirable to be wholly dedicated to one field we shouldn't feel like we have in some way failed if we don't feel the same way. To use that old adage; don't put all your eggs in one basket!

Jill, you talk beautiful photos and your writing is always honest and delight to read. I hope you don't feel inadequate because you don't want to conform to the world of a certain type of blogging. Whatever you write or photograph, I will still be reading.

Have a lovely rest-of-weekend and enjoy the sunshine!

Alexandra xx

O D Y S S E Y said...

P.S. What Alexandra and San said... :)

Pearl said...

I just saw the film the other day with Lawrence and Florrie. You are right he does live like a monk, his apartment just a mattress in a field of file cabinets. My bedroom is starting to look quite similar I confess, I know I need to shut off the laptop, but then I go and do other fashiony stuff. I also like the lessons learnt from him about money and about clothes as armor. Wise man, I hope he finds love one day though. x