It might be a cliche, but they do. For years, touring the city on his trusty bicycle, Cunningham has covered New York's fashion beat - from downtown shows in warehouses without windows to uptown shows with enough gilt to cover the Trump Tower - and from one end of the party spectrum he's delivered pictures back to the Sunday New York Times style section. For years he relied on not being recognised and sucked too far into the fashionable scene. These days, every rookie in the fashion pack knows the thin, smiling man in an old mac and a beaten-up flat cap worn backwards.
But tomorrow night in Manhattan he'll be well and truly recognised when he receives the lifetime's achievement award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America at fashion's equivalent of the Oscars. Other winners include Calvin Klein, Fabien Baron, creative director of American Harper's Bazaar, and - for its unique contribution to American style - the sneaker. But for once the world will be watching Bill, instead of the other way round. When he arrives, will he hang around outside, or will he break the habit of a lifetime and go to the ball?
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