Fashion icon and former Vogue editor André Leon Talley has died at the age of 73, a statement released on his official Instagram confirmed Tuesday.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the death of André Leon Talley on January 18, 2022 in New York”, reads the statement. “Mr. Talley was Vogue’s largest-ever and longtime creative director during its rise to dominance as the world’s fashion bible.”
The cause of his death was not disclosed.
“Over the past five decades as an international icon he has been a close confidant of Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, Paloma Picasso and has had a penchant for discovering, nurturing and celebrating young designers. His subtitle appeared in Vanity Fair, HG, Interview , Ebony and Women’s Wear Daily and was the editor of Numero Russia, “the statement continues. “Mr. Talley has written several books, including Valentino, ALT: A Memoir, ALT 365+ and Little Black Dress for Assouline, and contributed to Valentino: At the Emperor’s Table and Cartier Panthère. He was the subject of the documentary The Gospel. According to André and his recent memoir, The Chiffon Trenches, it became a New York Times best seller. “
Talley was an American fashion journalist known for his work in shaping US Vogue and fashion as a whole. He was the magazine’s fashion news director from 1983 to 1987 and creative director from 1988 to 1995. He was subsequently appointed general editor, a position he held until 2013.
Talley, who later became the head of Numéro Russia magazine, remained a casual contributor to Vogue after his departure as a publisher and in 2019 wrote a piece in honor of his late friend, designer Karl Lagerfeld, who died in February of the same year.
“He was appointed artistic director of Zappos Couture in 2014 and has served on the board of trustees of Savannah College of Art and Design since 2000,” reads the statement on his Instagram. “Mr. Talley was awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French Republic in 2020 and the North Carolina Governor’s Award for Literature in 2021. He was a longtime member of the Harlem Abyssinian Baptist Church. “.
In addition to her contributions to Vogue, the five-foot-eight star, known and loved for her sense of humor, honesty, and her loud and luxurious personal style, especially when it came to designer caftans, was an author, curator and television personality. She starred in “America’s Next Top Model” for four seasons, as a judge, made cameo appearances in “Empire” and first film “Sex and the City”, dressed and profiled then first lady Michelle Obama for Vogue, had a front row seat of the most prestigious high fashion shows in the world, has become the muse and confidant of many designers – including Oscar de la Renta, for whom he curated a museum exhibition in 2018 – and, for many years, was the right arm protagonist of fashion: Anna Wintour.
In 2017, director Kate Novack released a documentary, “The Gospel According to Andre”, about the style legend, from his humble upbringing to his rise to the top of the fashion industry.
Throughout his career, the Durham, North Carolina native has endeavored to introduce more culturally diverse voices into the predominantly white fashion industry and has spoken about his struggles against racism. In his 2020 book, “The Chiffon Trenches: A Memoir,” he recalled the emotion he felt when Edward Enninful was named British Vogue’s first black editor. That same year, Talley sent a shockwave across the fashion world when she talked about the lack of black talent to Vogue. “At one point, I was the only black person on Anna’s staff,” she told MailOnline.
In his 2003 memoir, “ALT”, Talley described his childhood in Durham, where he was raised by his grandmother and worked as a taxi driver to save money. When college time came, he enrolled at North Carolina Central University, where he graduated in French, and later got a scholarship from Brown University for his masters degree. Immediately upon graduation, Talley landed her first fashion job as Diana Vreeland’s volunteer assistant at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. Once he stepped into the fashion bubble, he landed a position at Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine where his career as a journalist took off, then moved on to WWD, Vanity Fair, Vogue and various other publications.
Talley had largely stayed away from social media since 2021, when he was involved in a financial mess over the property of the Westchester mansion where he had lived since 2004 and which previously belonged to former CEO of Manolo Blahnik.
Upon learning of her death, fashion insiders and friends took to social media to share their condolences and honor her memory.
Designer Diane von Furstenberg wrote on Instagram: “Goodbye dear André ❤️🙏 … no one saw the world in a more fascinating way than you ❤️🙏 … no one was bigger and more soulful than you ❤️🙏 .. . the world will be less joyfulI ❤️🙏 I love you and laugh with you for 45 years … I miss your loud screams … I love you so much ❤️🙏. “
Marc Jacobs posted a throwback photo of himself with Talley on Instagram and wrote in the caption: “I am shocked. You supported me and you have been my friend from the start. Our chats, the moments we shared … oh my friend. You and your passions were greater than life. I love you and I will miss you dear Andre. Rest in peace. “
Lindsay Peoples Wagner, editor-in-chief of The Cut, wrote on Instagram: “I’m not even sure how to wrap my mind about everything you’ve done and the legacy you left, but you’ve given us hope and aspirations that we don’t have. he would never have dreamed if it hadn’t been for you to go. “