André Leon Talley, fashion industry icon and former creative director of Vogue, dies at 73

André Leon Talley, the visionary former creative director of Vogue magazine, has died. He was 73 years old.

Talley’s literary agent, David Vigliano, confirmed Talley’s death to USA TODAY on Tuesday evening. Additional details were not immediately available.

Talley started at Vogue in 1983, before serving as creative director and editor of the fashion bible. The 6-foot-6 fashion icon penned two memoirs, ‘ALT: A Memoir’ in 2003 and ‘The Chiffon Trenches’ in 2020, was a judge for four seasons of ‘America’s Next Top Model’ and was at the center of the 2017 documentary, “The Gospel According to Andrew”.

In “The Chiffon Trenches,” Talley opened up about how her time in fashion, sexual abuse, and race impacted her life, career, and friendships.

“I can only write this book based on who I am and where I come from, this very humble beginning in a tobacco town of Durham, North Carolina,” the ex-fashion editor told Gasoline at the time.

Talley was the first black person to hold his position at Vogue, and in his 2020 memoir he described what he saw as his role in shaping Vogue and, by extension, the fashion industry in its together.

“I don’t underestimate myself for saying that my strength was in my ability to stand with a small, tall, powerful white woman and encourage her vision,” he wrote in his memoir of the editor. Vogue chief Anna Wintour, according to the New York Times.

He would later defend Wintour, crediting him, Diana Vreeland and Andy Warhol with shaping his career.

“It’s not revenge…say it all,” Talley told Vulture in May 2020. “I won’t criticize her. My book is an epistle to everyone I love. It’s a love letter to Anna Wintour, I love her deeply.

Talley told Essence that he has never backed down from his race in his life and career, despite the lack of diversity in the fashion world.

“I never separated from my Darkness,” he said. “My blackness is what made me.”

Talley was editor-in-chief of Vogue until 2013, when he left to take up a new position as editor-in-chief of Russian style magazine Numero Russia. Talley played the role for a year.

He told Women’s Wear Daily that leaving Vogue was a “tough decision”.

“I felt I needed more financial security as I got into my twilight years, a bit more money for mortgages and as I retired,” he said. “I took this job because I love Russia and the pay was fabulous. Money isn’t everything, but that’s when you start thinking about putting some money aside for your days. of retirement.

Contributor: Rasha Ali

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