Bill Cunningham Used to Design ‘Exotic’ Hats That Even His Own Mother Wouldn’t Wear

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Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Before Bill Cunningham became the founder of street style photography, he was a less-than-successful milliner working under the name William J because his family was "embarrassed" by his flamboyant pursuits. He designed his first hat for his mom to wear to the 1939 World's Fair (aw!), but she refused to do so. “I don’t think we sold many,” Cunningham recalled to the Times. “Everything I did was a little too exotic — you know, for normal people.” [Lens/NYT]