André Leon Talley, the towering former creative director and editor of Vogue magazine, has died. He was 73.
Talley’s literary agent David Vigliano confirmed Talley’s death to USA Today late Tuesday, but no further details were immediately available.
Talley was an influential fashion journalist who worked on Women’s Wear Daily and Vogue and was a regular at the forefront of fashion shows in New York and Europe. With a height of 6 feet-6 inches, Talley carved an impressive figure wherever he went, with his stature, his significant influence on the fashion world and his brave appearance.
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In a 2013 Vanity Fair post titled “The Eyeful Tower,” Talley was described as “perhaps the industry’s most important link to the past.” Designer Tom Ford told the magazine that Talley was “one of the last great fashion editors to have an incredible sense of fashion history. … He can figure out everything you do for the original reference, predict what was on your inspiration board. “
Designer Diane von Furstenberg praised Talley on Instagram and wrote: “no one saw the world in a more glamorous way than you did … no one was bigger and more soulful than you were.”
In his memoirs from 2003, EVERYTHING: A memoir, Talley focused on two of the most important women in his life: his grandmother, Bennie Frances Davis, and the late fashion editor Diana Vreeland.
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“Bennie Frances Davis may have looked like a typical African-American maid to many of the people who saw her on a normal day, but I, who could see her soul, could also see her secret: that even while wearing a hair net and work clothes for to scrub toilets and floors, she wore an invisible tiara, ”he wrote.
His relationship with Vogue started at Duke University, where his grandmother made clean dormitories; Talley went to campus in his youth to read the magazine.
Talley was also a well-known figure for the television audience who served as a judge on America’s top model and appears on Sex and the City and empire.
Remarkable fashion personalities and celebrities expressed their condolences on social media.
“I adored Andre,” Tyra Banks said Entertainment tonight. “Before I met him, I had never experienced such a productive person who served a rare blend of fashion ‘fabulousness’ and true Southern comfort love. Being in his presence was so magical. He made me smile, laugh and was a masterful teacher – an ingenious historian.
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Scientist, colleague, exuberant spirit, playful … you are resting now, dear André. But your spirit, your je ne sais quoi, your iconic voice … I hear it now. And will forever. We all want that. “
Growing up in Durham, North Carolina, Talley worked various jobs before arriving in New York in the 1970s, where he soon met Vreeland, who forged a friendship that lasted until her death in 1989.
Talley worked as a park ranger in Washington, DC and Maryland, telling visitors about slaves building Fort Washington and dressing up as a Civil War soldier, he told The Associated Press in 2003.
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After starring with Interview magazine and Women’s Wear Daily, Talley was hired by Vogue in 1983 by editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and was appointed its creative director in 1988.
Talley published another memoir in 2020, Chiffon graves, which contained gossipy stories behind the scenes about Wintour and other fashion figures such as the late designer Karl Lagerfeld.
Of all the elements of a person’s clothing, Talley considered shoes to be the most important.
“You can tell everything about a person by what he puts on his feet,” Talley told the AP.
“If it’s a man and you can see the reflection of his face on top of his black shoes, it means they’ve been polished to perfection … if it’s a woman and she’s wearing shoes , that hurts … yes, shoes that hurt are very fashionable! “
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