- Andre Leon Talley has died in Vogue’s iconic former creative director and editor-at-large. At the time, he was 73 years old.
- Talley was also a well-known television personality, having starred in shows such as “Sex and the City,” “Empire,” and as a judge on “America’s Top Model.”
Andre Leon Talley, Vogue’s legendary former creative director and editor-at-large, has died. He was 73 years old at the time.
Talley’s literary agent, David Vigliano, approved Talley’s death to the U.S.A. Today was late Tuesday but provided no further details.
Talley was a well-known fashion journalist who worked for Vogue and Women’s Wear Daily and was a fixture in the front row of New York and European fashion shows. With his stature, tremendous influence in the fashion industry, and bold looks, Talley cut an imposing presence wherever he went at 6-feet-6 inches tall.
Talley was described as “arguably the industry’s most significant link to the past” in a 2013 Vanity Fair spread headlined “The Eyeful Tower.” “1 of the last best fashion editors who has an unbelievable grasp of fashion history,” designer Tom Ford told the magazine, “he can see through whatever you do to the original reference, foresee what was on your inspiration board.”
“No one saw the world in a most glamorous way than you did… no one was grander and more spiritual than you were,” said designer Diane von Furstenberg on Instagram.
“A.L.T.: A Memoir,” Talley’s memoir from 2003, centered on two of the most influential people in his life: his maternal grandmother, Bennie Frances Davis, and late fashion editor Diana Vreeland.
“Bennie Frances Davis may have appeared to many people as a typical African American domestic worker on a normal day, but I, who could view her soul, could also see her secret: that she wore an invisible diadem even though she wore a hair net and work clothes to clean toilets and floors,” he wrote.
Talley’s association with Vogue began at Duke University, where his grandmother worked as a dorm cleaner; as a child, he would walk to campus to read the magazine.
Talley was also a famous face on television, having appeared on “Sex and the City,” “Empire,” and as a judge on “America’s Top Model.”
Talley was born in Durham, North Carolina, and worked in various occupations before shifting to New York in the 1970s, where she met Vreeland and formed a bond with her that lasted until she died in 1989.
In 2003, Talley told The Associated Press that he worked as a park ranger in Washington, D.C., and Maryland. He informed visitors about the slaves who constructed Fort Washington and dressed up as a Civil War soldier.
Talley was hired at Vogue in 1983 by Editor in Chief Anna Wintour after stints at Interview and Women’s Wear Daily and was named its creative director in 1988.
In 2020, Talley released “The Chiffon Trenches,” a memoir that includes juicy behind-the-scenes stories about Wintour and other fashion giants, including the late designer Karl Lagerfeld.
Talley thought that shoes were the most significant part of a person’s outfit.
“What a person puts on his feet may tell you everything about him,” Talley told the Associated Press.
“If a man’s face can be seen reflected on the top of his black shoes, it signifies they’ve been polished to perfection… If it’s a lady, and she’s wearing painful shoes, well, painful shoes are extremely trendy!”
The celebrity website T.M.Z. was the first to disclose Talley’s death.
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