Bill Cunningham Hats

Before he was a photographer, Bill Cunningham was a hat maker. Cunningham once professed, “I could never concentrate on Sunday church services because I’d be concentrating on women’s hats”. This early passion served him well in his first entrepreneurial venture, a women’s hat line called William J. Bill, which he set up and sold out of his home on 52nd street, between Madison and Park Avenues in Manhattan…Although Cunningham’s designs were spectacular and visually alluring, often taking on the forms of see-dwelling creatures and striking shells, incorporating exaggerated elements and exotic textures, from a financial standpoint, it was a difficult business to maintain without investment or further expanding his product offering; he was one quoted saying, “Everything I did was a little too exotic – you know, for normal people”.


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