André Leon Talley, an icon of fashion journalism, dies at 73


Andre Leon Talley | NAACP pressroom

David Alvarado

World-renowned fashion journalist and former editor-at-large at Vogue André Leon Talley died in White Plains, New York at 73. His literary agent confirmed his death on Jan. 19, according to USA Today.

Talley’s charming nature and flamboyant personality lured him towards the direction of fame and fortune. Beginning his career in fashion interning under former Vogue editor Diana Vreeland in 1974, Talley made history at Vogue after becoming the magazine’s first African American creative director in 1988, according to The Guardian. He went on to continue to thrive in the fashion industry.

Talley went on to write a New York Times bestselling memoir, “The Chiffon Trenches,” where he spoke about the harsh reality of the fashion industry along with the glamour that accompanies it.

“Fashion can be an emotional experience,” Talley wrote. The 304-page memoir was published in May 2020.

Talley also detailed his long-working relationship with Vogue editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour and described how there were times he felt disrespected.

“I had suddenly become too old, too overweight and too uncool, “he wrote in his memoir. He also mentioned how Wintour disregarded “simple human kindness” and how she was more passionate about the power she held instead of the clothes she wrote about.

“My story is a fairytale of excess, and in every fairytale there is evil and darkness, but you overcome it with light,” Talley said to the Guardian in 2020.

Talley is known for his high fashion appearances at red carpet events like the Met Gala, New York Fashion Week and the Golden Globe Awards.

Having his clothes custom-made by designers like Karl Lagerfeld and Dapper Dan, Talley enjoyed wearing various capes and caftans. Talley’s clothing style emphasized his big and unique personality, highlighting his confidence and love for fashion, according to The Cut.

Another staple in Talley’s career was his time as a judge on the hit reality TV show America’s Next Top Model with Tyra Banks. He applauded underrated girls and criticized those who believed they were the next Kate Moss from cycles 14 to 17.

“Your laugh, your screams of effervescent, delightful joy…I hear it now. And will forever. We all will,” Banks said in a tribute to Talley on Instagram.