NEW YORK, Jan. 24, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Groundbreaking editor André Leon Talley propelled himself through life with intelligence, faith and generosity, and an unabashed belief in the uplifting power and grace of beauty.

Mr. Talley died in New York on January 18, 2022. He passed away peacefully from complications due to covid-19. He was 73 years old.

Mr. Talley was the longtime creative director of American Vogue, the only black person to hold that position. He was also editor-in-chief of Numéro Russie and his byline has appeared in Vanity Fair, HG, Interview, Ebony and Women’s Wear Daily. Mr. Talley was a commanding presence in fashion at a time when the industry was a tightly knit club whose members were European aristocrats, globetrotting socialites and the wealthy. He was often the only black man at the ball, at the show, at the decision table.

Over the years, Mr. Talley has been an advisor and friend to veteran designers Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, Oscar de la Renta, Valentino, Diane von Furstenberg, Manolo Blahnik, Patrick Kelly, Tom Ford and countless others. He supported young designers from New York to Paris, lending them his exuberant validation and touting their work to colleagues and competitors.

Her taste for fashion was both Catholic and precise. The foundation of his aesthetic sensibility lies in his southern roots. He was born in Washington, DC, but was raised by his maternal grandmother Bennie Frances Davis in Durham, North Carolina. A housekeeper at Duke University, Mrs. Davis conducted herself with dignity and style. Her grandson was fascinated to watch her prepare for Sunday service each week. Her hats and gloves and her attention to detail gave her a deep understanding of fashion’s ability to weave a narrative and define identity. He saw fashion as a rebuke to stereotypes and prejudices.

Mr. Talley received his master’s degree from Brown University where he studied French history and literature. Her thesis explored the role of Darkness in the novels of Gustave Flaubert, the poetry of Charles Baudelaire and the paintings of Eugène Delacroix. Mr. Talley’s assessment was both literary and visual. He considered not only what was said, but what was seen. The effusive, bubbly statements that years later filled his stories and guided his visual compositions were a blend of Ivy League upbringing, an encyclopedic knowledge of the entire Vogue catalog, and the right home-schooling of black lore. .

Mr. Talley has straddled a multitude of worlds. He was a Francophile working in fashion – someone who had apprenticed with Diana Vreeland when she was a special consultant at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He was a brother in faith regularly attending the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. He was a black man. He brought his sister from church to Paris for fashion week and walked her down the red carpet at the Met Gala. He donated his pay for his appearances on “Full Frontal Fashion” to Abyssinian to support his community outreach. He rejoiced in a church plaque acknowledging his financial efforts as much as he did in his 2003 Eugenia Sheppard Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America. He kept the same values ​​from the beginning of his life until the end. Only her wardrobe has become larger.

Mr. Talley has written books about Valentino and Oscar de la Renta and the little black dress. He chronicled his own life in ALT: A Memoir and The Chiffon Trenches. He was also the subject of the documentary The Gospel According to André.

For more than 13 years, he served on the board of trustees of the Savannah College of Art and Design, which honored him in 2001 with its first Fashion Lifetime Achievement Award – an honor that now bears his name. SCAD held a special place in Mr. Talley’s heart. He enthusiastically supported his students, helping them secure both apprenticeships and full-time jobs in fashion and costume design. He donated a treasure trove of his papers to the school in hopes that his past might inspire the future of his students.

Mr. Talley received an honorary doctorate from SCAD in 2008. He was awarded the title of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres de la République française in 2020 and the North Carolina Governor’s Award for Literature in 2021 .

He is survived by his dear cousin Shirley Austin and a host of other relatives.

A formal memorial will be announced in the spring – Mr Talley’s favorite time of year.

The above was written by Robin Givhan on behalf of the family and estate of André Leon Talley

TAA Public Relations represents André Leon Talley – For media inquiries, please contact Aba Kwawu –

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