Bill Cunningham New York

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One of the most interesting scenes in Bill Cunningham New York comes near the end. The film-makers, never shying away from difficult questions, ask Bill about his love life. Has he had partners? Is he gay? Has he ever been in love? Bill deflects the questions away, his modesty fully on display. “Where I grew up, you never talk about such things,” he says. But in the middle of this scene, he also breaks down and cries to himself. The crying happens mid-sentence about his relationship with religion and god. But one can’t help but wonder, if he’s instead mourning a life lived without a loving companion.

It is well known that Bill was a formidable presence in the world of fashion, at the New York Times and in New York. His recent passing was one of the few times I felt a shroud of sadness around the company, the other was when David Carr passed away last year. Perhaps Bill never had a lover, never felt companionship in the way many of us experience or aspire to, but it can be said without question that he was loved by an industry, a company, a whole city.