Fashion icon Andre Leon Talley has passed away at the age of 73.
The former Vogue creative director ‘passed away Tuesday at a hospital in White Plains, NY.’ His cause of death is unknown.
Talley is remembered as a driving force in Vogue’s success, serving as the magazine’s long-acclaimed former creative director and American editor-at-large through the 1980s and ’90s.
His death comes just two years after his decades-long friendship with Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour ended when she froze him out for being ‘too old, too overweight, too uncool’.
Talley claimed, in a memoir released in 2020, that he was left with ‘huge emotional and psychological scars’ from his friendship with the notoriously icy editor.
However, he also credited her, along with Diana Vreeland and Andy Warhol, with shaping his career.
‘I will not criticize her,’ he said in a May 2020 interview with Vulture. ‘My book is an epistle to everyone that I love. It’s a love letter to Anna Wintour. I love her deeply.’
Talley remained prominent in the fashion world, serving as a judge on America’s Next Top Model alongside Tyra Banks, creative director Jay Manuel and runway coach J. Alexander for four seasons.
He also worked as a stylist for the First Family during Barack Obama’s presidency.
Fashion icon Andre Leon Talley has passed away at the age of 73. The former Vogue creative director ‘passed away Tuesday at a hospital in White Plains’. The above picture, posted to his Instagram account in April 2021, is believed to be the most recent photo of Talley
He worked alongside Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour for several years, developing a close friendship with the notoriously icy editor, until she froze him for being ‘too old, too overweight, too uncool’. The pair are pictured together in 2003
Talley, detailing his fallout with Wintour in his book The Chiffon Trenches: A Memoir, claimed there was an ‘endless’ list of writers, stylists and models who she has cast onto a ‘frayed and tattered heap during her powerful rule’.
In a scorching passage, he wrote: ‘She is immune to anyone other than the powerful and famous people who populate the pages of Vogue.
‘She has mercilessly made her best friends people who are the highest in their chosen fields.
‘Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Mr. and Mrs. George Clooney are, to her, friends. I am no longer of value to her’.
Talley’s dismissal from the court of the woman known as ‘Nuclear Wintour’ is all the more bitter because they were so close – and she made his career.
When they were at their closest he was one of the few dozen people invited to her wedding and she staged an intervention because his weight got out of control.
He penned that when he started out in fashion journalism and Wintour was creative director at Vogue she became a ‘powerful ally’ of his.
Talley (pictured alongside Wintour in 1996) began his career in fashion at the age of 28 after snagging a job as a reporter at Women’s Wear Daily
Fashion figure: He was the long-acclaimed former creative director and American editor-at-large of Vogue through the 80s and 90s; Andre seen with Anna Wintour in 1999
Andre Talley (left) and Kristen McMenamy (right) attend New York City fashion week in the mid 1990s
Following news of his death, tributes to the fashion leader have flooded social media. He is remembered as ‘incredible’ and ‘groundbreaking,’ with many expressing how deeply he will be missed.
Model Coco Rocha issued her condolences and shared a recount of their final conversation together.
‘I’m so sad to hear that my friend, the incredible Andre Leon Talley, has passed away. He was a legendary figure in fashion and a walking encyclopedia of knowledge,’ she wrote.
‘His final departing words to me were “Nothing matters in this world but family and love, and you have IT”. I hope, in the moments before he passed, he recalled how much he was loved by the extended family he had built over many decades in this industry. He will be missed.’
‘I can’t believe what a force of nature has left us today. Andre Leon Talley was such an incredible artist, but he was also one of the most genuinely wonderful humans I’ve ever met. Always there with the most beautiful smile and open arms, he was so sweet and kind, always so gracious and I imagine the term “fierce” was coined after meeting him,’ actress Milla Jovovich posted to her Instagram page along with a photo of herself and Talley.
‘I feel so lucky to have been embraced in his warm glow so many times in my career, because good people are few and far between in this business and you’re much more likely to meet a scowl when going places than his ever present, all encompassing loveliness. I send you so much love Andre. It was an honor and a privilege.’
Following news of his death, tributes to the fashion leader have flooded social media. He is remembered as ‘incredible’ and ‘groundbreaking’
Talley began his career in fashion at the age of 28 after snagging a job as a reporter at Women’s Wear Daily.
He’d moved to New York City in the 1970s following a stint in Rhode Island where he attended the prestigious Brown University.
The journalist had been awarded a scholarship to the school after earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in French Literature at the North Carolina Central University in 1970.
Talley earned a Master’s degree in French studies in 1972, with initial plans to become a French teacher – which were later thwarted by his involvement in the NYC art scene where he mingled with the likes of Andy Warhol and Karl Lagerfeld.
Talley penned three books, including two memoirs. He detailed his fallout with Wintour in his book The Chiffon Trenches: A Memoir (pictured)
After reporting for Women’s Wear Daily, Talley became the protégé of former editor-in-chief of Vogue, Diana Vreeland, who’d manned the publication from 1962 until 1971.
At the time, Diana was working as director for the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Talley assisted her in the role which saw her stage countless exhibitions.
From there, Talley lent his natural writing talents to publications like Interview magazine, the New York Times, among others before stepping into his role at Vogue.
He served as the Fashion News Director from 1983 to 1987 before becoming Creative Director in 1988.
Talley stayed in the role until 1995 and, after a three-year absence, returned to Vogue in 1995 as editor at large. He held the position until his departure from the magazine in 2013.
Back in 2003, Talley discussed his deep rooted love for Vogue which he’d been fascinated with since his teen years during a sit-down chat with Interview magazine.
‘Vogue was my hobby, and no one in my family ever had a copy of the magazine in the house until I did,’ said the fashion figure, who grew up in North Carolina under the care of his grandmother.
‘The big experience was on Sundays after church. I’d wash the dishes, walk to the white part of town … to the newsstand that was open on Sundays. That was my big joy.’
Talley began his career in fashion at the age of 28 after snagging a job as a reporter at Women’s Wear Daily
Talley (left) also served as a judge on America’s Next Top Model for four seasons
Following his departure from Vogue, Talley continued to contribute to the fashion magazine.
In 2016, Vogue launched an official podcast, with Wintour naming Talley the host. It began as a huge success with guests like Tom Ford, Kim Kardashian, Marc Jacobs and Alexander Wang.
However, the podcast was started around the time his friendship with Wintour began to go sour. In his memoir, Talley griped about being paid just $500 for each episode of the podcast, a sum which he calls ‘peanuts’.
‘My car service bills cost that much and more for a round-trip from White Plains to One World Trade Center,’ where the Vogue office is based,’ he wrote.
Suddenly the podcast ceased to exist and there was no explanation from Wintour who adopted a ‘sphinx-like silence’. Talley alleged Wintour had ‘decimated me with this silent treatment so many times’ and ‘this is just the way she resolves any issue’.
Afterwards, Talley hosted his own Sirius XM radio show, called Full Length, which debuted in 2017.
He was joined by celebrity guests and friends to discuss all-things fashion, the biggest moments in pop culture and break down the hottest style trends.
When announcing the show Talley said: ‘My SiriusXM radio show will, of course, be fabulous. We will cover it all—from global style influences and trends, to iconic pop culture moments that wowed us.’
‘Full Length will showcase the connection we have with fashion.’
Talley is pictured with Karl Lagerfeld and Tommy Hilfiger
Andre Leon Talley and Janelle Monae are pictured together at the Ralph Lauren celebration of Fashion’s Night Out on September 10, 2010 in New York City
Talley also penned three books, including his two memoirs, and was the subject of the 2017 documentary The Gospel According to André.
He made a cameo appearance on the Fox’s Empire and appeared in the first Sex and the City film, which was released in 2008.
Talley is recognized as a trailblazer in the fashion world – which had little diversity when he made is mark on the industry – and has been considered an icon for the LGBT community.
Although he never explicitly said he was gay, Talley did tell Wendy Williams in 2018: ‘I’m not heterosexual; I’m saying I’m fluid in my sexuality, darling.’
He was also the first black person to hold his position at Vogue and in a 2020 interview with Essence said his ‘blackness’ helped shape his success.
‘I never separated from my blackness,’ he told the news outlet. ‘My blackness is what made me.