Photographer Bill Cunningham’s fashion legacy was cemented long before computers came around, but his weekly ‘On The Street‘ series is a delightful example of why some things work better in digital. Every Sunday on the printed pages of The New York Times, we see charming photographs of city denizens adorned in everything from ball gowns to snow boots ~ but in its online version, we are able to listen to his personal musings on each picture, to hear the joy in his voice and the rapture with which his eye views fashion. He doesn’t discriminate between petticoats and parkas; as long as it’s of the moment, it’s all marvelous! At 85 years old, Bill is one of the hippest influencers of our time, because he sees and celebrates the possibilities of style as they extend far beyond the runway. He delights in performance and active wear, claiming things are so much better now than when he started shooting in the much-idealized 1940′s and 50′s. Technological advances have revolutionized our lives and stylistic decisions in ways we don’t always appreciate: be it insulated winter boots, running shoes or water-wicking raincoats, Bill reminds us, “For all those people who complain there’s no fashion: it is fashion, but it’s functional fashion.”
It will be interesting to see how the definition of functional fashion evolves in our lifetimes; how it will be harnessed by the avant-garde and reinterpreted on the streets. How soon will cell phones and credit cards become a thing of the past, replaced by a chip embedded in your sleeve or tucked into a piece of jewelry? Think about how much and how quickly computers alone have changed! Where bulky desktop processors were once a luxury, now far more powerful tablets are available for less than a pair of mid-range shoes. They even fit inside an evening bag! Wearable technology is a popular buzzword these days, and after attending Monday night’s CFDA Awards with the forward-thinking Intel team, my curiosity toward the subject has been piqued. |ABOVE| Betsey Johnson with CFDA president Diane Von Furstenberg, who has pioneered many a trend, from the wrap dress to technology on the runway Intel is a sponsor of the CFDA Awards, and works throughout the year with the organization in providing knowledge exchange for designers and technologists to learn from each other to help advance the dialogue and possibilities of wearable tech. They invited me to accompany them and photograph the evening on the new Acer Iconia Tablet with Intel inside (which all of the evening’s CFDA winners also received).
The awards are an extremely special, intensely personal evening in the fashion world, where designers gather to celebrate their peers, muses and mentors, and it’s always a great honor to be asked to attend. Even better is to attend and be tasked with taking pictures ~ it’s the finest fashion parade of the year, where everything from ostrich feathers to denim is acceptable and expected. I appreciated having an excuse to shamelessly gawk each glorious arrival (I’d never otherwise have the guts to casually snap Lupita Nyong’o)!
While the awards celebrate the best of the past year’s fashion, Intel is involved because they’re dedicated to co-creating the future. I spoke at length that evening with Intel’s CEO, Brian Krzanich, who’s excited about the ways in which wearable technologies are already finding application not only for athletes, but also in providing 24/7 monitoring and improved health conditions for infants and the elderly. He and his engineers see these successes as starting points, and are inspired by merging practical solutions with stylistic innovation, for a world that’s always wired-in. Talking with him and his team made it easy to imagine a near-future wherein the most desirable fashion accessories are also the most technologically advanced.|ABOVE| speaking about covetable and chic: Catherine Walsh (Senior Vice President of Coty) is the penultimate They’re off to an auspicious start: later this year, Intel will unveil a seriously smart bracelet designed in collaboration with the fashion raconteurs at Opening Ceremony, to be sold at Barney’s New York. Besides the in-house Intel whiz kids, this ground-breaking bijoux (the details of which are still very top-secret) has been vigorously road-tested by Brian Krzanich’s glamorous wife, who confided it’s both cooler than cool and may even allow us to keep the handbags at home. For technology to truly enrich our daily lives, it must become more seamless and less invasive ~ offer fewer steps and more solutions. My mother always told me that smart is chic, and it feels like fashion is finally catching up with that fact. |ABOVE LEFT| Iman with Bethann Hardison, who was awarded for her work in advancing the careers and opportunities available for black models |ABOVE RIGHT| a dapper Zac Posen with date Greta Gerwig |BELOW| Rihanna, Fashion Icon of the year, lived up to her title |ALL PHOTOS| taken with an Acer Iconia Tablet with Intel inside