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Ex-Vogue editor André Leon Talley says Anna Wintour is 'not capable of simple human kindness'

Talley says friendship with Vogue editor-in-chief left him with 'huge emotional and psychological scars' 

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Thursday 23 April 2020 21:47 BST
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André Leon Talley details end of friendship with Anna Wintour (Getty)
André Leon Talley details end of friendship with Anna Wintour (Getty)

André Leon Talley has shared details about his friendship with Anna Wintour in his new memoir, in which he claims the Vogue editor-in-chief and former boss is “not capable of human kindness”.

According to Talley, the former editor-at-large of Vogue, he and Wintour were both friends and colleagues during the decades they spent working together at the fashion magazine.

However, according to the DailyMail, which reviewed an advanced copy of Talley’s new book, The Chiffon Trenches: A Memoir, the fashion journalist accuses Wintour of ending their friendship in the past year because he was “too old, too overweight, too uncool”.

“She is immune to anyone other than the powerful and famous people who populate the pages of Vogue,” Talley writes. “She has mercilessly made her best friends people who are the highest in their chosen fields.”

Explaining that he and the fashion editor first became friendly in 1983 when he got a job at Vogue, where Wintour was creative director at the time, the 70-year-old says that there were numerous times over the years that he felt he “wasn't being treated properly”.

According to Talley, Wintour’s treatment towards him eventually prompted him to quit, only to be later brought on as Vogue’s editor-at-large.

But despite reconciling their friendship, Talley says his size became an issue with Wintour, who tried numerous times to get him to lose weight, including staging an intervention with Talley's pastor and close friends Oscar de la Renta and his wife.

Talley also accuses Wintour of taking advantage of him when he became the host of a successful podcast for the magazine, writing that he was paid just $500 an episode and that Wintour eventually cancelled the project with no explanation.

But, according to Talley, it was in 2018, when he believed he was going to be interviewing guests of the Met Gala on the red carpet only to be told such assignments were "beneath" him that he realised he had been “thrown to the curb” by Wintour.

Talley says Wintour is 'not capable' of 'simple human kindness' (Getty)
Talley says Wintour is 'not capable' of 'simple human kindness' (Getty)

“This was clearly a stone-cold business decision. I had suddenly become too old, too overweight, too uncool, I imagined, for Anna Wintour,” he writes, adding that he thought after decades of “loyalty and friendships” that the magazine editor would have the “decency and kindness” to tell him herself.

“Simple human kindness. No, she is not capable,” he writes.

According to Talley, who also says that the Vogue editor-in-chief deals with most issues with the “silent treatment,” he has been left with “huge emotional and psychological scars” from his relationship with Wintour.

However, despite the pair’s rocky relationship, Talley writes in the memoir that “Not a day goes by when I do not think of Anna Wintour” and that he hopes that she will “find a way to apologise before I die”.

As of now, Wintour has not addressed Talley's comments. The Independent has contacted Vogue for comment.

The Chiffon Trenches: A Memoir will be released on 8 September 2020.

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