The influential fashion journalist and former editor-at-large of Vogue US passed away from a heart attack at the age of 73
André Leon Talley died after suffering a heart attack, according to a spokesperson for Graydon Carter, founder of Air Mail, which first reported the news. He passed away on January 18, 2022, in New York.
A larger-than-life icon within the fashion community and champion of inclusivity within the industry, Talley has had a hand in shaping and diversifying the fashion industry. He was a close confidant of Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, Paloma Picasso, Diane von Furstenberg, and Manolo Blahnik. He had a predisposition for discovering, nurturing and celebrating young designers over the past five decades.
He had an illustrious past working alongside some of the most influential people of fashion – from Diana Vreeland at the Metropolitan Museum of art in 1978 to Andy Warhol's Factory magazine Interview Magazine.
He was instrumental in the direction of Vogue under the leadership of Anna Wintour in the 1980s and 1990s. He worked his way up the magazine ranks – first heading up the news team as director from 1983 to 1987 and later as Vogue's creative director in 1988. He influenced the development of the world's fashion bible during its rise to dominance.
Born in 1948 and raised in North Carolina during the Jim Crow era, Talley was always drawn to the world of fashion. In his 2020 memoir The Chiffon Trenches, he retells how he would visit his local library to read copies of Vogue, which came to embody a world in which "bad things never happened".
Designer and close friend Diane von Furstenberg was among those to pay tribute on Wednesday. Taking to Instagram, she wrote, "Goodbye darling André. No one saw the world in a more elegant and glamorous way than you did. No one was more soulful and grander than you were. The world will be less joyful now. I have loved you and laughed with you for 45 years. I will miss your loud screams and your loyal friendship. I love you so much."
"My story is a fairytale of excess, and in every fairytale, there is evil and darkness, but you overcome it with light," Talley told The Guardian in 2020. "I want every person I come across – the stranger on the street, the church member in the pew next to me – to feel love. I have not been privy to love in my life, but I want them to feel that they have received some love from engaging with me, André Leon Talley."
Talley will perhaps best be remembered as a trailblazer in the fashion world. Known for his biting yet accurate commentary on style and his flamboyant presence – from the statement kaftans, hats and robes he frequently wore. He is commonly considered one of the first mainstream African-American tastemakers in the U.S