About the Holiday
A full month of attention to new fashions worldwide begins this week in New York with the 2019 Spring/Summer fashion collections shown to buyers, the press, and the public. Created in 1943 as Press Week, the New York show aimed at diverting attention away from the Paris event during World War II, when “fashion industry insiders were unable to travel to Paris,” and hoped to highlight American designers, whose innovations had largely been ignored. Showcasing the world’s most highly skilled and creative designers, famous models, and plenty of eye-catching styles, Fashion Week is a favorite event for celebrities and fashion lovers alike. As the show in New York winds down on September 14 , eyes will turn to London from September 14 to 18, Milan from September 19 to 25, and, finally, Paris from September 25 to October 3.
little bee books sent me a copy of Polka Dot Parade: A Book about Bill Cunningham to check out. All opinions are my own. I’m also excited to be partnering with little bee in a giveaway of the book. See details below.
Polka Dot Parade: A Book about Bill Cunningham
Written by Deborah Blumenthal | Illustrated by Masha D’yans
As Bill Cunningham bicycled through New York City in his trademark blue jacket, tan pants, and black shoes with his ever-present camera, he was forever searching for beauty. And he found it wherever he went. He saw “‘sheer poetry’ in the drape of an evening dress” and “delight in the swoosh of a knife-pleated skirt.” He clicked away as Hermès bags, plaids, stripes, polka dots, and even fanny packs and “fancy-pants dog clothes” paraded by. And the people wearing all of this? “‘I don’t really see people, I see clothes,’ Bill said.”
For Bill, all of these colorful clothes and creative styles told stories about the people who wore them—people daring enough to be creative whether they were rich or poor. “People who looked like leopards in their leopard prints, cool cats in their hats, dudes in dots and spots.” The New York Times newspaper published Bill’s photographs, letting the world see these stories too.
Before Bill taught himself the art of photography, he worked as a hat maker and then as a fashion writer. He believed that an individual’s sense of fashion was a kind of freedom. Bill found subjects to photograph at “posh parties,” Paris Fashion Week, and even on the streets of New York. His favorite New York corner was Fifth Avenue and Fifty-Seventh Street. He blended in to the hustle and bustle to snap pictures of passersby in all weather and seasons.
The people he photographed and those he worked for all loved Bill and his singular vision. In 2008, he was awarded the French Legion of Honor, and Bergdorf Goodman department store celebrated his work with a “lavish display in their Fifth Avenue window.” But Bill shunned the spotlight, preferring that others be recognized. When Bill died in 2016 at the age of 87, the fashion world mourned. But his life and his work live on in his “glorious pictures of clothes and the power they lend us…as we dress each day for the runway called life.”
An Authors Note giving more details about Bill Cunningham’s life follows the text,
With lyrical storytelling and staccato phrasing like the beat of a camera’s shutter, Deborah Blumenthal frames Bill Cunningham’s life in snapshots of the color, patterns, people, and philosophy that fueled his talent and his passion. Cunningham’s appreciation for the unique, quirky, and original is celebrated throughout and will inspire young readers to embrace their own identity and display it in their own, particular way.
Visually stunning, Masha D’yans’ vibrant watercolor and mixed-media illustrations float across the pages with the beauty and flow of the runway as well as the hustle, bustle, and stories of the street. Just as in real life, Cunningham fades into the background, but his camera is always focused on the fashion and what it tells him. Images of Cunningham’s photographs scattered across the newspaper page, strings of negatives hanging like party streamers in his darkroom, and the gray treasure boxes in his stark apartment, provide readers with a deeper understanding of his work and world.
For children fascinated by fashion or who follow their own muse—or want to, Polka Dot Parade is an inspirational book to add to any home or classroom library.
Ages 4 – 8
little bee books, 2018 | ISBN 978-1499806649
Discover more about Deborah Blumenthal and her books on her website.
To learn more about Masah D’yans, her books, and her art, visit her website.
Polka Dot Parade: A Book about Bill Cunningham Giveaway
I’m excited to partner with little bee books in this giveaway of:
- One (1) copy of Polka Dot Parade: A Book about Bill Cunningham written by Deborah Blumenthal | illustrated by Masha D’yans
To be entered to win, just Follow me on Twitter @CelebratePicBks and Retweet a giveaway tweet during this week, September 10 – September 16. Already a follower? Thanks! Just retweet for a chance to win.
A winner will be chosen on September 17.
Giveaway open to US addresses only. | Prizing provided by little bee books.
New York Fashion Week Activity
Decorative Hanger Photo Hanger
A colorful plastic hanger, some washi tape, a few clothespins, and your own photos or pictures can make a one-of-a-kind way to display your art and personality!
- Plastic Hanger
- Washi tape – 2 patterns (optional)
- 3 to 4 clothespins
- Craft paint
- Paint brush
- Photos or pictures
- Wrap the washi tape around the hanger. If using two patterns of tape, wrap the hook and neck of the hanger with one pattern and the body of the hanger in the other
- Paint the three or four clothes pins with one or more colors, let dry.
- Clip the clothespins to the hanger
- Insert photos into the clothespins
You can find Polka Dot Parade at these booksellers
Picture Book Review