Former Vogue editor André Leon Talley died yesterday aged 73. An enormously influential figure in fashion, his greatest legacy is increased diversity in the industry.
A post on his Instagram account paid tribute to André Leon Talley and his over half-century career.
“It is with great sadness we announce the passing of André Leon Talley on January 18, 2022, in New York. Mr Talley was the larger-than-life, longtime creative director at Vogue during its rise to dominance as the world’s fashion bible. Over the past five decades as an international icon was a close confidant of Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, Paloma Picasso, Diane von Furstenberg, Bethann Hardison, Manolo Blahnik and he had a penchant for discovering, nurturing and celebrating young designers.”
André Leon Talley discovered Vogue Magazine in his local library as a boy. He of course went on to edit the fashion bible. At six feet seven inches tall, the flamboyantly dressed Talley became an emblematic figure in the fashion world, often seen alongside longtime Vogue editor Anna Wintour.
Too old, too overweight and too uncool
He and Wintour later fell out with Talley saying “I had suddenly become too old, too overweight and too uncool.”
In his 2020 memoir The Chiffon Trenches, André Leon Talley recalled sexual abuse during his childhood. He also wrote about the racism and sizeism he endured throughout his career.
Once ranked by Out Magazine as one of the 50 Most Powerful Gay Men and Women in America, André Leon Talley never actually came out as gay. The closest he came was a comment on the Wendy Williams Show, “I’m not heterosexual; I’m saying I’m fluid in my sexuality, darling.”
Despite the criticisms he sometimes made of the fashion industry, André Leon Talley obviously had no regrets.
“My story is a fairytale of excess, and in every fairytale, there is evil and darkness, but you overcome it with light.”
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