André Leon Talley, the visionary former creative director of Vogue magazine, died
Tuesday. He was 73.
NSL LEARNT: Talley had passed away on Tuesday at a New York hospital, of an
unknown illness. His death was later confirmed by his literary agent, David Vigliano.
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
Talley began at Vogue in 1983, and in 1988 was named the fashion bible’s creative
director, ultimately also serving as editor-at-large. Throughout his career, the 6-foot-
6 fashion journalist, whose towering presence sitting front-row of fashion shows was
as iconic as his flowing robes, advocated for diversity in the fashion industry,
encouraging top designers to include more Black models in their shows as he helped
shape Vogue at large.
In a 2013 Vanity Fair spread titled “The Eyeful Tower,” Talley was described as
“perhaps the industry’s most important link to the past.” Designer Tom Ford told the
magazine 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 judge over four seasons of “America’s Next Top Model” and was
the center of the 2017 documentary, “The Gospel According to André.”
In “Chiffon Trenches,” Talley opened up about how his time in fashion, sexual abuse
and race impacted his life, career 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 told Essence at the time.