André Leon Talley, the influential fashion journalist and former editor-at-large of US Vogue, has died at the age of 73.
The fashion journalist, whose career spanned five decades, died on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, in New York as his representatives confirmed his death in a statement posted on his Instagram page.
Several fashion industry figures, including designers and models, have been paying tribute.
US designer, Marc Jacobs noted he was “in shock” over the news. He further said: “You championed me and you have been my friend since my beginning. You and your passions were larger than life”.
Belgian designer, Diane von Furstenberg, shared that no one was “grander and more soulful” like Talley, noting that “The world will be less joyful“.
That notwithstanding, actress and supermodel, Milla Jovovich described Talley as a “force of nature”.
“Andre Leon Talley was such an incredible artist, but he was also one of the most genuinely wonderful humans I’ve ever met. Always there with the most beautiful smile and open arms, he was so sweet and kind, always so gracious and I imagine the term ‘fierce’ was coined after meeting him”.Milla Jovovich
According to the supermodel, she felt so lucky to have been embraced in his warm glow so many times in her career, because good people are few and far between in the fashion industry.
Costume designer, Arianne Phillips, who worked on films such as ‘Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’, eulogizing Talley as a “trailblazer, dapper gentleman, fashion editor, writer, journalist with a singular voice”, averred that Talley was a “larger-than-life icon”.
Talley Becoming a Legend in the Fashion Industry
Born in Washington DC and raised by his grandmother in North Carolina, Talley studied French literature before becoming an apprentice at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1974.
He went on to work as a fashion journalist at Women’s Wear Daily and Vogue, attending regular fashion shows in New York and around Europe. The kaftan-wearing journalist became creative director and editor-at-large at Vogue and was usually seen at events next to the magazine’s driving force and fashion’s most formidable woman, Anna Wintour.
Talley also wrote for Vanity Fair, HG and Interview, and he was the editor of Numero Russia. He was also a major figure in the LGBT community, describing himself as “fluid”.
Talley was widely credited with getting more black models into the fashion industry. He also served as a stylist for former US President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama.
Last year, Talley was awarded France’s ‘Chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres’ honor, recognizing people who have made significant contributions to the arts.
In 2020 he released his memoir, ‘The Chiffon Trenches’, and told Stephen Sackur that the title was inspired by his time spent in the fashion industry, that was almost devoid of senior black men.
“I have I fought many battles. I’ve been in trenches all my life, as an African-American black man, a descendant of the enslaved people who were brought to this country 401 years ago. My daily existence is an uphill battle of survival.
“Every black man has to wake up and realise that he is black in a country that promises him all the equality; equal justice for everyone… and it’s not. Therefore, my life is a constant survival in the trenches: I get knocked down, I get up; I get shot down, I get up – not only in my personal life, but in my professional life as well as in my professional life when I was in Paris and in New York.”André Leon Talley