Fashion Icon & Former ‘Vogue' Creative Director André Leon Talley Dies at 73
Fashion icon and former Vogue creative director André Leon Talley has died, according to a statement on his official Instagram account. He was 73.
Talley first joined Vogue in 1983 as the magazine's fashion news director. He was promoted to creative director and editor-in-chief Anna Wintour's right-hand from 1987 to 1995. Notably, Talley was the first Black creative director of Vogue. He left Vogue in 1995 and moved to Paris, where he returned to W Magazine after working at the outlet earlier in his career.
Talley continued contributing to Vogue as an editor until he rejoined the magazine in 1998 full-time as the editor-at-large, penning the monthly column Style Fax. He stayed in this position until his final departure from the magazine in 2013. Talley also contributed to Women's Wear Daily, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Ebony, Interview Magazine, and more. He also wrote several books, including Valentino, A.L.T.: A Memoir, A.L.T. 365+ and Little Black Dress for Assouline, and contributed to Valentino: At the Emperor’s Table and Cartier Panthère.
Talley was the subject of the documentary The Gospel According to André, which was released in 2017, and was awarded the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in recognition of his contribution to the fashion industry. Talley described winning the award as “the best day in my life.” He wrote in an Instagram post, “To be in the august and impeccable body of Chevaliers: Diana Vreeland, Tina Turner, James Baldwin, Rudolph Nureyev and for a black man educated in public schools in Durham, North Carolina, I thank my French teacher, the late Cynthia P. Smith, who wrapped me in French: the language, the culture, style, history and literature.”
In May 2020, he released New York Times Bestseller The Chiffon Trenches, a memoir about his life and extensive career, chronicling his rise to fame from a childhood in North Carolina to his conquest in the fashion world.
Last year, Talley noted the significance of Vogue's cover featuring poet Amanda Gorman to the Black community and the broad fashion world. “It is a cover all mother's and grandmothers and aunties of any color would want their young daughters to see and experience,” Talley wrote in an Instagram post. "We are continuing to climb hills, hills of healing, hills of forgiving, and climbing hills and mountains of overcoming all adversity, systemic racism and inequity."
Celebrities and fashion insiders worldwide posted tributes to Talley, acknowledging the indelible mark he’s left on the industry.
British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful wrote on his Instagram, “R.I.P dearest Andre. Without you, there would be no me. Thank you for paving the way.”
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Designer Diane von Furstenburg wrote on Instagram, “Good bye darling André… no one saw the world in a more elegant and glamorous way than you did."
Comedian Leslie Jones tweeted, “Wow we are just losing our icons! Andre’ Leon Talley was Legendary! RIP KING!!” alongside a video of her hugging the late editor-at-large.