Fashion pioneer and former Vogue Creative Director André Leon Talley dies at 73. Talley passed from a heart attack. We have felt massive blows from losing legends after legends this year. Men and women broke down barriers for us, and Talley was no different.
Hailed as the “pharaoh of fabulosity,” André Leon Talley could command any room he walked in. He possessed a grand personality and loved an extravagant cape. A Vogue staffer stated, “Talley was also the industry’s biggest champion and booster, the first editor backstage, quick with encouraging advice or a course correction.”
The Legacy of André Leon Talley
Talley joined Vogue in 1983 and quickly rose to the position of creative director and Wintour’s right-hand man. Talley left Vogue in 1995 and went back to a magazine he worked with early in his career; however, he continued to contribute as an editor. He came back to work with Wintour in 1998 as an editor-at-large and wrote the monthly column “Style Fax.”
Talley and Wintour’s friendships had their ups and downs, and he details it in his memoir, “The Chiffon Trenches.” Talley considered it a love letter to his former friend. Wintour is broken over his loss, and she recently posted his obituary in Vogue.
The loss of Andre is felt by so many of us today: the designers he enthusiastically cheered on every season, and who loved him for it; the generations he inspired to work in the industry, seeing a figure who broke boundaries while never forgetting where he started from; those who knew fashion, and Vogue, simply because of him; and, not forgetting, the multitude of colleagues over the years who were consistently buoyed by every new discovery of Andre’s, which he would discuss loudly, and volubly—no one could make people more excited about the most seemingly insignificant fashion details than him,” Wintour said of Talley’s legacy.
Over his career, Talley contributed to Women’s Wear Daily, The New York Times, and Interview Magazine. He is also the subject of the documentary The Gospel According to André, released in 2018.