Before he hopped on his legendary bicycle in the notorious blue jacket, snapping photos of fashion’s evolution, Bill Cunningham was a couture milliner. He chose to design under the guise William J., so as not to offend his ultra conservative family. Full of whimsy and feathers and intense, curious joy, many these hats were just a tad too “exotic,” as Bill says, for the hats to truly take off sales-wise. We’ll find out this Wednesday if they’re too exotic for us in 2012, as 23 William J. originals (mostly owned by his Aunt), will go on sale at 1stDibs.com.
The New York Times ”high-tech kids” discovered his past, and had him recount it with Bill Cunningham’s own images. See the stills here and watch the video interview “A Rare Bird’s Feathers” on NYT.com as Bill explains each piece.