William Norwich presents Bill Cunningham, "Fashion Climbing"

Fashion ClimbingThe untold story of a New York City legend's education in creativity and style.

For Bill Cunningham, New York City was the land of freedom, glamour, and, above all, style. Growing up in a lace-curtain Irish suburb of Boston, secretly trying on his sister's dresses and spending his evenings after school in the city's chicest boutiques, Bill dreamed of a life dedicated to fashion. But his desires were a source of shame for his family, and after dropping out of Harvard, he had to fight them tooth-and-nail to pursue his love. 

When he arrived in New York, he reveled in people-watching. He spent his nights at opera openings and gate-crashing extravagant balls, where he would take note of the styles, new and old, watching how the gowns moved, how the jewels hung, how the hair laid on each head. This was his education, and the birth of the democratic and exuberant taste that he came to be famous for as a photographer for The New York Times. After two style mavens took Bill under their wing, his creativity thrived and he made a name for himself as a designer. Taking on the alias William J.--because designing under his family's name would have been a disgrace to his parents--Bill became one of the era's most outlandish and celebrated hat designers, catering to movie stars, heiresses, and artists alike. Bill's mission was to bring happiness to the world by making women an inspiration to themselves and everyone who saw them. These were halcyon days when fashion was all he ate and drank. When he was broke and hungry he'd stroll past the store windows on Fifth Avenue and feed himself on beautiful things. 

Fashion Climbing is the story of a young man striving to be the person he was born to be: a true original. But although he was one of the city's most recognized and treasured figures, Bill was also one of its most guarded. Written with his infectious joy and one-of-a-kind voice, this memoir was polished, neatly typewritten, and safely stored away in his lifetime. He held off on sharing it--and himself--until his passing. Between these covers, is an education in style, an effervescent tale of a bohemian world as it once was, and a final gift to the readers of one of New York's great characters.

Bill Cunningham, the iconic New York Times photographer, was the creative force behind the columns On the Street and Evening HoursCunningham dropped out of Harvard and moved to New York City at 19, eventually starting his own hat design business under the name "William J." His designs were featured in VogueThe New Yorker, Harper's Bazaar, and Jet. While covering fashion for publications including Women's Wear Daily and The Chicago Tribune, he took up photography, which led to him becoming a regular contributor to the New York Times in the late 1970s. Cunningham was the subject of the documentary "Bill Cunningham, New York." His contributions to New York City were recognized in 2009 when he was designated a "living landmark."

William Norwich will moderate a discussion with Diana DiMenna and John Kurdewan.

Diana DiMenna is a documentary film maker, philanthropist, and Broadway producer. A close friend of Bill Cunningham's, she lives in New York and Southampton.

John Kurdewan is a production artist at The New York Times whose Instagram @workforbillc celebrates his many years working with Bill Cunningham.

William Norwich is an editor for Phaidon Press and former editor at Vogue and The New York Times Magazine. He is the author of the novel My Mrs. Brown. 

Please register for this FREE event here.

If you're unable to attend the event and would like a signed copy of Fashion Climbing, please purchase the "Signed" version below.

Event date: 
Saturday, September 15, 2018 - 4:00pm
Event address: 
BookHampton
41 Main Street
East Hampton, NY 11937
Fashion Climbing: A Memoir with Photographs Cover Image
By Bill Cunningham, Hilton Als (Preface by)
$27.00
ISBN: 9780525558705
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Press - September 4th, 2018

$27.00
SKU: s9780525558705