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Fashion Climbing

A Memoir with Photographs

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

The New York Times bestseller

“[An] obscenely enjoyable romp . . . [Fashion Climbing] leaves the readers gasping for more.” —The New York Times Book Review

The 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.

From Publishers Weekly

May 21, 2018 – The legendary New York Times photographer whose extraordinary eye captured high fashion and high society in his columns "On the Street" and "Evening Hours" turns his focus to his early years and early career in this surprising and sprightly posthumous memoir. Cunningham (1929 2016), who grew up in an Irish Catholic suburb of Depression-era Boston, recalls his first brush with fashion at age four when he donned his sister's pink organza party dress. Though reprimanded by his Boston-proper mother, the incident didn't deter him from a lifelong obsession with clothes and couture. After dropping out of Harvard at 19, Cunningham moved to New York, where he worked in carriage-trade retail and then struck out on his own as a high-end hat designer whose often outrageous millinery was inspired by fruit, fish, and fowl. His antics and adventures hiding behind plants at a Chanel show or under a table at a debutante ball, sneaking into the Waldorf Astoria to glimpse Queen Elizabeth give readers a front-row seat on the mid-century fashion world, and the black and white photos, many featuring a dapper, young Cunningham beaming ear to ear, document a fantastical bygone era. For all the book's frivolity, Cunningham is a truth teller in an artifice-draped world: he calls some of the customers who bought his hats "star-spangled bitches... full of conniving tricks to get the price as low as possible" and singles out Women's Wear Daily publisher John Fairchild as a fake who played favorites. The glamorous world of 20th-century fashion comes alive in Cunningham's masterful memoir both because of his exuberant appreciation for stylish clothes and his sharp assessment of those who wore them.
Fashion Climbing
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  • $13.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Sep 04, 2018
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Seller: PENGUIN GROUP USA, INC.
  • Print Length: 256 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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