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Bill Cunningham’s Hats Sell for $20,000

May 7, 2012 By Lauren Valenti

Before Bill Cunningham became the renowned street fashion photographer he is today, he was quite the skilled milliner.  Under the pseudonym, “William J” Cunningham produced exceptionally unique creations, often inspired by birds, plants, flowers, and similarly themed subject matter. Cunningham himself said that the avant-garde nature of his designs compromised their salability, saying to the New York times that they were “a little too exotic – you know, for normal people.”

Vintage dealer, Katy Kane acquired 23 magnificent “William J” originals for an exclusive auction on 1stdibs.com to begin on April 25th. Ten minutes after the auction was in session, the entire collection was surreptitiously bought for the full price of $20,000. The anonymous buyer is said to be a friend of Cunningham and pans to donate the headpiece assortment to a museum in New York City in Cunningham’s name- such a sweet gesture to preserve fashion history from a man who captures and creates such history every day.

Photos: 1stdibs.com

By: Sarah Humphries

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