André Leon Talley Biography
André Leon Talley (October 16, 1948 – January 18, 2022) was an American fashion journalist, stylist, and former Vogue magazine creative director and American editor-at-large.
From 1983 to 1987, he was the magazine’s fashion news director, and from 1988 to 1995, he was the first African-American male creative director.
He was known for advocating for diversity in the fashion industry and was widely regarded as a fashion icon. Talley also served on the America’s Next Top Model judging panel (from Cycle 14 to Cycle 17).
He also co-authored a book with Richard Bernstein and authored three books, including the memoir The Chiffon Trenches, which was a New York Times Best Seller.
Talley also worked as a stylist for former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama of the United States. In 2021, France bestowed the honor of Chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres on him.
André Leon Talley Parents and Education
Talley was born in Washington, D.C., on October 16, 1948, to Alma Ruth Davis and taxi driver William C. Talley.
One of his grandfathers was a sharecropper, at the very least. His parents abandoned him at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, where his maternal grandmother, Binnie Francis Davis, worked as a cleaning lady.
She was his mother, according to Talley, who gave him a “understanding of luxury” and for whom he has said, “I miss her almost every day” since her death.
He grew up in the Jim Crow South, where segregation was the rule of law. “For a long time, my grandmother would not let white people into our house,” he said. That had been her rule.
The coroner was the only white man who ever came into the house.” His love of fashion was cultivated at an early age by her and his discovery of Vogue magazine in the local library when he was nine or ten years old.
Talley received his education at Hillside High School, where he graduated in 1966, and North Carolina Central University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in French Literature in 1970.
In 1972, he received a scholarship to Brown University, where he earned a Master of Arts in French Literature.
He planned to teach French at Brown and wrote a thesis on the influence of black women on Charles Baudelaire.
André Leon Talley Age at Death
André was 73 years of age when he passed away, he was born on October 16, 1948, in Washington, D.C., United States. He died on January 18, 2022 (aged 73), in White Plains, New York, U.S.
André Leon Talley Cause of Death
Talley died of natural causes at a hospital in White Plains, New York on January 18, 2022, at the age of 73.
André Leon Talley Wife
Talley was not married, he did not have a wife, he described his sexual orientation as “No, I’m not heterosexual; I’m saying I’m fluid in my sexuality, darling.” when Wendy Williams asked about his sexual orientation.
André Leon Talley Children
Talley did not have any kids at the time of his death.
André Leon Talley Career
In 1974, he apprenticed for Diana Vreeland at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, unpaid, thanks to student connections he made in Providence, Rhode Island.
The Vogue editor was so impressed with Talley’s abilities that he connected him with a $50-per-week job at Andy Warhol’s Factory and Interview magazine.
From 1975 to 1980, he worked at Women’s Wear Daily, where he rose to the position of Paris bureau chief, and at W.
He also worked for The New York Times and other publications before joining Vogue in 1983 as Fashion News Director and then as Creative Director from 1988 to 1995. He lobbied top designers to include more African-American models in their fashion shows.
In 1984, he co-wrote the book MegaStar with Richard Bernstein, which includes celebrity portraits and an introduction by Paloma Picasso.
In 1995, he left Vogue and moved to Paris to work for W, after which he returned to Vogue as a contributing editor. He returned to Vogue in 1998 as editor-at-large until 2013, when he left to pursue another editorial venture.
In 2003, he released his autobiography, A.L.T. : A Memoir, which was published by Villard. The book’s message, according to Publishers Weekly, is that “style transcends race, class, and time.”
He published A.L.T. 365+, an art monograph designed by art director Sam Shahid, two years later. 365 is a collection of photos and captions from Talley’s life over the course of a year.
In 2008, Talley offered fashion advice to the Obamas, introducing Michelle Obama to Taiwanese-Canadian designer Jason Wu, from whom she purchased several dresses, including her inaugural gown. Talley’s most well-known recent collaborations include Tracy Reese, Rachel Roy, and Jennifer Hudson, a singer-actress.
From March 2010 to December 2011, Talley was a member of the America’s Next Top Model judging panel (from Cycle 14 to Cycle 17).
He was the international editor of Numéro Russia from 2013 to 2014, joining the team shortly after the magazine’s launch in March 2013 but resigning after 12 issues. Since 1995, he has served on the Board of Trustees of the Savannah College of Art and Design.
He and New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd live-blogged Trump’s inauguration in January 2017. Talley began hosting his own Sirius XM satellite station, Radio Andy, in April of that year, with a focus on fashion and pop culture.
The Gospel According to André, directed by Kate Novack, is a documentary film about Talley that premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2016 and was released in the United States on May 25, 2018.
“The documentary is a deeply loving, often beautiful testament to the former Vogue editor, who rose from humble beginnings in North Carolina to become arguably the high fashion world’s first major African-American tastemaker, as well as the type of multilingual, Russian-lit-citing public intellectual who is perfectly at ease gossiping on TV with Wendy Williams,” Variety wrote in a review of the film. In 2020, it was available on Disney’s Hulu.
On May 19, 2020, he released The Chiffon Trenches: A Memoir. He talks about his early days in New York City in the 1970s, his tumultuous relationship with Wintour, and his encounters with racism in the fashion industry. The book went on to become a New York Times Best Seller.
André Leon Talley Net Worth
André Leon Talley had an estimated net worth of $2 million at the time of his death.
Last year, the New York Post reported that the pioneering Talley was fighting eviction from the mansion over a rumored $500,000 he owed on rent. Talley had stated that he owed no one anything and that the mansion belonged to him.
A GoFundMe campaign had been set up to aid him in his legal battle.