Beloved Fashion Photographer Bill Cunningham Dies at 87

The fashion industry loses a legend.

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(Image credit: Getty Images)

Bill Cunningham, the iconic fashion photographer for the New York Times, has died at the age of 87 years old. Earlier this week, he had been hospitalized after suffering a stroke (opens in new tab), but passed away today in New York, the Times confirmed (opens in new tab).

For nearly 40 years, Cunningham was the fashion photographer for The Times, capturing the style of real women on the streets of New York; subsequently paving the way for the street style scene today. His weekly style column, On The Street, which appeared in every Sunday edition of The Times since he first launched it in 1978, transformed pavements into runways as he captured the unique style of New York women in a way that nobody had ever done before. 

In 2010, Cunningham was the subject of a documentary, Bill Cunningham New York, which offered a private look at his low-key, oft mysterious life behind the lens. The film, which debuted to rave reviews, showed just how incredibly humble the photographer was, despite an iconic career in the industry that included a Legion d'Honneur in France and being named a Living Landmark by the New York Landmarks Conservancy. 

But it wasn't just the inspiring style Cunningham was able to capture in the most unexpected of places that made him so legendary; it was the smile of pure joy on his face as he captured the perfect fashion shot. It was the magic of seeing him ride by on his bicycle wearing his signature blue French workers jacket and khaki pants.  It was the lasting impact he managed to leave on anyone who ever had the opportunity to witness him at work. Today, the fashion industry mourns the loss of a true legend, one who personified the magic of New York City style and managed to touch a million hearts along the way. 

Lauren Alexis Fisher is the former market editor for HarpersBAZAAR.com. While studying fashion and business at LIM College in New York, she held internships at Diane von Furstenberg, Donna Karan, College Fashionista, and Harper's BAZAAR. Lauren covers fashion news, trends, shopping, travel, celebrity style, and more for Bazaar.com. When she's not glued to her phone or laptop, she enjoys traveling, brunching, and tweeting bad jokes.