Hungry eyes

Bill Cunningham photographing some fashionable legs in the streets of New York.

Bill Cunningham photographing some fashionable legs in the streets of New York.

PHOTO courtesy of first thought films/Zeitgeist films

Bill Cunningham New York opens this Friday, April 22, at the Crest Theatre, 1013 K Street. Trunk show begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Crest lobby; the film starts at 8 p.m., followed by a panel discussion; $15 general admission, $12 senior and students; advance tickets on sale now at Crest box office, Phono Select records and Opening night to benefit Verge Center for the Arts.

Crest Theatre

1013 K St.
Sacramento, CA 95814

(916) 476-3356

Before The Sartorialist, before Garance Doré and long before every fashion lover had a digital camera and a Wi-Fi connection, there was Bill Cunningham. According to those in the know (including Vogue editor Anna Wintour), he created street-style fashion photography in the ’60s, when he started photographing the hippies at a “be-in” in Central Park. Since, he has turned his voracious eye on everything from baggy-drawered hip-hoppers to bowler-clad dandies to spike-heeled socialites for The New York Times style section.

Long one of fashion’s best kept secrets, he’s being introduced to the wider world in the new documentary Bill Cunningham New York, which is exclusively premiering at the Crest Theatre as part of its quarterly film series in conjunction with the Verge Center for the Arts. The $15 admission gets you into a trunk show starting at 6:30 p.m., at which you can shop for clothes from local retailers and designers (including Bows and Arrows and Thunderhorse Vintage) while you sip some wine and listen to the far-out sounds of DJ Hailey, a.k.a. Mom. How civilized.

The movie starts at 8, and after the screening there will be a panel discussion of the film and the documentation of street style with prominent local fashion bloggers from Street Style Sacramento, Juniper James and Sac Cycle Chic.

The trappings around the screening are all a bonus, but the movie itself is the real treat. In a refreshing contrast to the spate of documentaries about dysfunctional weirdos, Cunningham, now a spry, bike-riding 83, is a highly successful and functional weirdo. The man has truly lived for fashion, eschewing material wealth and even romantic relationships, but with his cheeky sense of humor and broad twinkling smile, he’s far from a grim aesthete. Cunningham’s single-minded dedication to the pursuit of beauty is an inspiration. As Wintour herself says, “We all get dressed for Bill.”