Bill Cunningham Thinks The Fashion World Is Out Of Touch

“I think the fashion world needs to come to grips with reality. The reality is you have the whole country electronically connected. They’re educating the insides of their heads, as they should, and not [dressing] the outside with a fancy hat or a dress. Simple clothes, that’s key, and I think that’s what the fashion world should really think about…Look at the lines waiting to get into that Apple store on 5th Avenue! Do you see a line waiting to get into Bergdorfs or Saks? The future belongs to this generation and the high-tech world is it!”

Bill Cunningham, the legendary fashion photographer for the New York Times, teared up Wednesday night at New York Fashion Week creator Fern Mallis’ “Fashion Icons” series. He sat down with Mallis at New York’s 92Y to talk all things style, and the normally very private Cunningham kept his heart on his sleeve the whole night. After describing in emotional detail the Battle of Versailles in 1973, which he considers the best fashion show he’s ever seen, he added:

“That’s what American fashion does best! Not imitate, but the simplicity, the honesty of clothes — that’s what we’ve got to get back! That’s what made America great, and what made the fashion world great.”

I can’t help but agree. Simple, functional clothes, at least in my mind, are what define classic American style. The shininess of Fashion Week is fun, but it’s not doing much to help the fact that the fashion world is increasingly alienating the rest of the society. Instead of seeing NYFW as aspirational, most everyday shoppers just see it as an overflow of stuffy, overpriced excess. Cunningham knows of a time when the fashion world transcended all that – maybe someday NYFW can bring back the full force of its former influence.

[Fashionista]

[Image via Getty]