André Leon Talley, the visionary former artistic director of Vogue journal, died Tuesday. He was 73.
Talley’s literary agent David Vigliano confirmed Talley’s dying to USA TODAY late Tuesday. Additional particulars weren’t instantly accessible.
Talley’s Instagram account additionally issued affirmation early Wednesday, noting that over 5 many years the “international icon was a close confidant of Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, Paloma Picasso and he had a penchant for discovering, nurturing and celebrating young designers.”
Talley started at Vogue in 1983, and in 1988 was named the style bible’s artistic director, in the end additionally serving as editor-at-large. Throughout his profession, the 6-foot-6 vogue journalist, whose towering presence sitting front-row of vogue exhibits was as iconic as his flowing robes, advocated for variety within the vogue trade, encouraging high designers to incorporate extra Black fashions of their exhibits as he helped form Vogue at giant.
In a 2013 Vanity Fair unfold titled “The Eyeful Tower,” Talley was described as “perhaps the industry’s most important link to the past.” Designer Tom Ford informed the journal Talley was “one of the last great fashion editors who has an incredible sense of fashion history. … He can see through everything you do to the original reference, predict what was on your inspiration board.”
Talley wrote two memoirs, “A.L.T.: A Memoir” in 2003 and “The Chiffon Trenches” in 2020, served as a choose over 4 seasons of “America’s Next Top Model” and was the middle of the 2017 documentary, “The Gospel According to André.”
In “Chiffon Trenches,” Talley opened up about how his time in vogue, sexual abuse and race impacted his life, profession and friendships.
“I can only write this book based on who I am and where I came from, this very humble beginning in a tobacco town of Durham, North Carolina,” the ex-fashion editor informed Essence on the time.
Talley was the primary Black individual to occupy his place at Vogue, and in his 2020 memoir, he described what he noticed as his function in shaping Vogue, and, by extension, the style trade as a complete.
“I quietly worked to bring more of that newness into the room: fashion editorials featuring young black models Naomi Campbell and Veronica Webb; a photo feature on the flamboyant ball culture of New York’s queer people of color, members of the legendary House of LaBeija striking dance poses in broad daylight. I sounded no bullhorn over diversity but nurtured it where I could,” he wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post in 2019.
One of his proudest moments, he informed the Post, was his 2009 Vogue cowl story of then-first girl Michelle Obama.
Though he described his relationship with Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour as fractured in his 2020 memoir, later he would defend her, crediting Wintour, late vogue editor Diana Vreeland and Andy Warhol with shaping his profession.
“This is not a vengeful … tell-all,” Talley informed Vulture in May 2020. “I will not criticize her. My book is an epistle to everyone that I love. It’s a love letter to Anna Wintour. I love her deeply.”
Talley has additionally been thought-about an LGBTQ icon, making Out journal’s “The Power 50” in 2007, although he declined to outline his sexuality, calling himself “fluid” in a 2018 interview with Wendy Williams.
Talley informed Essence he by no means shied away from his race in his life and profession, regardless of the dearth of variety within the vogue world.
“I never separated from my Blackness,” he said. “My Blackness is what made me.”
André Leon Talley spills Vogue details, talks Anna Wintour in new memoir
Talley served as Vogue’s editor-at-large until 2013, when he left to pursue a new job as editor in chief of Russian style magazine Numero Russia. Talley was in the role for a year.
He told Women’s Wear Daily that leaving Vogue was a “robust determination,” though Wintour “was very sympathetic and understood.”
“I felt I wanted extra monetary safety as I am going in my twilight age, a bit bit more money for mortgages and as I am going into retirement,” he said. “I took the job as a result of I really like Russia and the wage was one thing fabulous. Money is not every thing however it’s while you begin fascinated about placing cash away to your retirement days.”
Talley also contributed to Air Mail, the weekly newsletter co-edited by Graydon Carter, since its inception in 2019. In his most recent Air Mail article, published in October, Talley reviewed Patrick Hourcade’s memoir about late Chanel creative director Karl Largerfeld.
Designer Diane von Furstenberg mourned Talley in an Instagram tribute Tuesday, writing that “nobody noticed the world in a extra elegant and glamorous means.”
Of all the elements of a person’s apparel, Talley considered shoes to be most important.
“You can tell everything about a person by what he puts on his feet,” Talley told the Associated Press.
“If it’s a man and you can see the reflection of his face on the top of his black shoes, it means they’ve been polished to perfection. … If it’s a woman and she’s wearing shoes that hurt … well, shoes that hurt are very fashionable!”
Contributing: Rasha Ali, USA TODAY; Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: André Leon Talley, former Vogue creative director, dead at 73