Why Everyone Loved André Leon Talley

Remembering André Leon Talley: Remarkably accessible in an elitist fashion industry

1/21/2022 4:33:00 AM

Remembering André Leon Talley: Remarkably accessible in an elitist fashion industry

In an industry known for its rampant elitism, the longtime fashion editor—and fashion authority—remained remarkably accessible

After about two months, he told me he had thought about it and would like to speak with me. He made time to talk on weekends that spring; I remember the weather being unusually sunny and gorgeous. He was, as he had been in the past, incredibly generous with his time and offered to be available to me for follow-ups. My first follow-up interview in April took more than an hour and a half; that was the last time we spoke.

I can only guess as to why he helped me. Perhaps he knew how hard of an assignment writing about Wintour could be. Certainly, he knew he was part of fashion history and maybe wanted to talk about it as only he could. He had such presence in the industry, in fact, that many others interviewed for the book asked if I had talked to him and wanted to share their memories of him too. Someone who worked with both him and Wintour at

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Name Everyone? I've never ever heard of him so who TF is Everyone?

Former Vogue editor André Leon Talley dies aged 73 in NYC hospitalFormer Vogue editor and America's Next Top Model judge André Leon Talley has passed away at the age of 73 following a battle with an unspecified illness

André Leon Talley, influential fashion journalist, dies aged 73The former editor-at-large of Vogue was famous for his big personality and as a champion of Black designers and models Wow 6‘7“ Must have been quite a presence. With his signature wrap! RIP 🙏🏿 🙏🕯🙏

André Leon Talley dead: Fashion world mourns death of Vogue legend who died at 73ANDRÉ LEON TALLEY, Vogue magazine icon, has died from an unknown illness at 73, as the fashion world goes into mourning.

Former Vogue editor André Leon Talley dead at 73André Leon Talley dead at 73: Former Vogue editor and fashion icon passes away Танай салбарт хүнд гарз тохиожээ hlnnana starlit_9 🤣😃 RIP

André Leon Talley: a force for change and a much-loved friendAs the OG influencer, late fashion editor Talley’s unique way of looking at the world reached far beyond the glossy pages of Vogue, says Chloe Street

My day hanging out with André Leon Talley, the king of fashionI don’t know if André Leon Talley believed in Heaven, but if he thought of going anywhere for an afterlife, I think it would have looked like the house in the s

, and I didn’t know if he would care to say anything more about their relationship. Read more: ‘I Was a Quiet Advocate.’ Fashion Editor André Leon Talley on the Discrimination He’s Faced in the Industry After about two months, he told me he had thought about it and would like to speak with me. He made time to talk on weekends that spring; I remember the weather being unusually sunny and gorgeous. He was, as he had been in the past, incredibly generous with his time and offered to be available to me for follow-ups. My first follow-up interview in April took more than an hour and a half; that was the last time we spoke. André Leon Talley attends a party following the May 5, 2008 Met Gala in New York. David Prutting—Patrick McMullan/Getty Images I can only guess as to why he helped me. Perhaps he knew how hard of an assignment writing about Wintour could be. Certainly, he knew he was part of fashion history and maybe wanted to talk about it as only he could. He had such presence in the industry, in fact, that many others interviewed for the book asked if I had talked to him and wanted to share their memories of him too. Someone who worked with both him and Wintour at recalled one winter when the office had emptied out for the holidays. Talley and this editor happened to be working, though, and he gave her a beautiful designer gift, wrapped with gold ribbon. Read more: Explore a Century of Fashion Photography at Condé Nast While he was remembered in these conversations as being both sensitive and warm, he was also sometimes described as difficult. But he spoke openly about such moments without me even asking, seemingly aware of his personality and faults and in a way that is again rare in an industry where image is everything and therefore painfully calculated. He was also proud to discuss the work that he had done in fashion: assisting Diana Vreeland as an unpaid volunteer when she was curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute; styling prominent women, including Wintour and socialites like Anne Bass; helping John Galliano produce his famous fall 1994 runway show; writing the March 2009 Vogue cover story on Michelle Obama; adding comedy to The September Issue with memorable proclamations like, “It’s a famine of beauty.” He was also known as one of the earliest, vocal in the pages of Condé Nast magazines and the fashion industry more broadly, his efforts only sometimes successful. He famously cast Naomi Campbell as Scarlett O’Hara for a Vanity Fair story during a brief period in the nineties when he wasn’t employed at Vogue . In The Chiffon Trenches , he credited Wintour with making him “the highest-ranking Black man in the history of fashion journalism” when she gave him the job of Vogue ‘s creative director after she became editor-in-chief in the summer of 1988. “If the importance of this is lost on you, please remember again that this was 1988,” he wrote,” and I was not superseded in that ranking until as editor in chief of British Vogue And toward the end of The Chiffon Trenches , he recounted that day Enninful took over British Vogue from a white woman, writing, “I dashed off a simple e-mail to him with huge congratulations. He responded succinctly: ‘Thank you, André. You paved the way.’” Read more: Talley had a way of making fashion meaningful in the world beyond Vogue , which is just one thing about him that many will miss. I was reminded of this when I dug up a post I wrote after his first episode of America’s Next Top Model —I had interviewed him on set during the taping of the show’s fourteenth cycle in 2011—premiered over a decade ago: Finally, last night, after months of hype, André Leon Talley debuted on the America’s Next Top Model judging panel. And as we expected, he was the best part of the show. But coining the word “dreckitude” was only one of many highlights of his critiques. He was kind: “There’s definitely a vulnerability in your body.” Analytical: “There’s drama to it, but it’s just sort of a stereotypical kind of drama.” Brutally honest: “I don’t like the hair, the face—it’s a mess!” And he hammed it up for the cameras: “This would definitely hit the reject floor at Vogue