Andre Leon Talley, who became known across the world as an editor at Vogue magazine, has died.
Talley was known as a singular figure for years, working as a Black editor in high-fashion where he developed close relationships with designers like Karl Lagerfeld, Yves Saint Laurent and Anna Wintour, among others.
According to TMZ, the former editor died Tuesday at a hospital in White Plains, New York where he had been living. As of this writing it is unclear as to what he died of.
Talley was raised in North Carolina and took to fashion at a young age, watching women parade in and out of church. He was raised by his grandmother who encouraged his interest in art, style, and creativity, and later attended Brown University where he studied French literature.
After college he interned for Diana Vreeland, the legendary Vogue editor, at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. From there her went to Andy Warhol’s Interview, and then Women’s Wear Daily.
Andre later went to Vogue. There he met Wintour who was another editor there at the time where the two developed a working relationship. After Wintour ascended to editor-in-chief, Talley became creative director from 1988 to 1995. In recent years, they had a falling out. He told Gayle King on CBS This Morning where his friendship with Wintour stood,
“I think my relationship is in an iceberg with her. I hope that it will not be that forever.”
The word is that they DID make up before his death.
We met a few times over the years I was at Condé Nast. When I returned to Vanity Fair in the 90s to work on the first VF Hollywood Issue, Andre was a consultant and I was treated to a full audience with the diva. She loved to hold court, and as I also worked with Polly Allen Mellon, who studied at the feet of Mrs. Vreeland, I clocked where Andre borrowed his act from –Vreeland herself! PRONOUNCEMENTS DARHLING –very School of Vreeland, with an ALT twist.
I say, bravo! Get your act down and take it on the road. No apologies. His brand was over-the-top.
In 2018, the documentary The Gospel According to Andre was released and Talley was on the fashion map again, this time as LEGENDARY, which is always how he saw himself. His memoir, The Chiffon Trenches, came out in 2020 and was mostly well-reviewed.
“I went to school and to church and I did what I was told and I didn’t talk much.
But I knew life was bigger than that. I wanted to meet Diana Vreeland and Andy Warhol and Naomi Sims and Pat Cleveland and Edie Sedgwick and Loulou de la Falaise. And I did...
And I never looked back.”