This story first appeared in the September 8, 2016 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The Bryant Park Corporation has organized the event since the stretch of green behind the New York Public Library’s main outpost was a favorite location for the photographer. Cunningham was also a fan of its Lowell Fountain, which he photographed in the summer and even frozen in the winter. As a sign of thanks for his interest in Bryant Park, 50 of the park’s bistro chairs will be arranged to offer an aerial look like a 35-mm camera. The backs of the chairs will be covered with blue fabric as a reminder of the blue workman’s jacket that Cunningham favored as a signature look. There will also be a tag with a photograph of Cunningham aiming his camera in Bryant Park.
IMG also paid tribute to the lensman Thursday morning by suiting up more than 75 photographers and videographers with blue jackets at the Nicholas K show at The Dock at Skylight Moynihan Station.
Catherine Bennett, senior vice president and managing director of IMG Fashion Events, said, “Though he’s no longer with us, Bill Cunningham’s legacy lives on. We see his influence every day on the streets of New York, and we miss him. As New York Fashion Week kicks off, we acknowledge this incredible man through the individuals who will carry on his passion for life and love of fashion.”
Cunningham’s photos will be displayed later this month, when the fifth annual Photoville opens in the Brooklyn Bridge Plaza Sept. 21 and runs through Sept. 25. The New York Times-supported “On the Street With Bill Cunningham” will be featured amid the 55-plus shipping containers that have been re-purposed beneath the Brooklyn Bridge to serve as galleries.
The man-on-the-street photographer was a beloved contributor on the New York scene, often cycling his way from one nighttime event to the next. His memory has been honored in different ways in recent months. Pantone Color Institute executive director Lee Eiseman predicted shortly after Cunningham’s death that designers may give him his due by using his favorite shade of blue in upcoming collections. In July, a Change.org petition signed by more than 6,000 Cunningham admirers led to the northeast corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street being temporarily named for him. Cunningham was known to park himself there nearly every day to photograph passersby. And more than 1,200 attendees at last month’s outdoor screening of “Bill Cunningham New York” in Newport, R.I., adhered to NewportFilm organizers’ dress code and wore blue in his honor.