The death of formerVogue creative director André Leon Talley has shaken the fashion world.
The journalist died at the age of 73 in a hospital in White Plains, New York. His death was confirmed by his literary agent, David Vigliano, on Tuesday 18 January.
Talley was US Vogue’s fashion news director from 1983 to 1987, and became the magazine’s first African-American creative director from 1988 to 1995.
His representatives, TAA PR, said in a statement: “It is with great sadness we announce the passing of our dear friend and client, the indomitable Andre Leon Talley on 18 January 2022 in New York.
“Mr Talley was the larger than life, long-time creative director at Vogue during its rise to dominance as the world’s fashion bible.
“Over the past five decades as an international icon, [he] was a close confidant of Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, Paloma Picasso and he had a penchant for discovering, nurturing and celebrating young designers.”
Tributes have poured in from fashion designers, models and magazine editors to mourn the loss of the industry icon, who championed diversity in the global fashion industry.
Edward Enninful, editor-in-chief of British Vogue, paid tribute to Talley through an Instagram post, writing: “RIP dearest André. Without you, there would be no me. Thank you for paving the way.”
Diane von Furstenberg
Diane von Furstenberg shared a picture of Talley on her Instagram account and wrote: “Good bye darling André.
“No one saw the world in a more glamorous way than you did… no one was grander and more soulful than you were.
“The world will be less joyful. I have loved you and laughed with you for 45 years… I miss your loud screams… I love you sooooo much.”
Marc Jacobs posted his own tribute and said he was “in shock” at the news of Talley’s death.
“You championed me and you have been my friend since the beginning,” he said. “Our chats, the moments we shared… oh my friend.
“You and your passions were larger than life. I love you and I will miss you dear André. Rest In Peace.”
Once Upon A Time in Hollywood costume designer Arianne Phillips wrote on Instagram: “André Leon Talley trailblazer, dapper gentleman, fashion editor, writer, journalist and with a singular voice – his witty repartee, larger than life icon.
“Always so kind and funny, his contribution to fashion and culture is one for the history books. Such sad news to hear of his passing. Rest in power André .”
Actress and supermodel Milla Jovovich described Talley as a “force of nature” and “one of the most genuinely wonderful humans I’ve ever met”.
She continued: “Always there with the most beautiful smile and open arms, he was so sweet and kind, always so gracious, and I imagine the term ‘fierce’ was coined after meeting him.
“I feel so lucky to have been embraced in his warm glow so many times in my career, because good people are few and far between in this business and you’re much more likely to meet a scowl when going places than his ever-present, all-encompassing loveliness.
“I send you so much love André. It was an honour and a privilege,” Jovovich added.
Kate and Laura Mulleavy
Rodarte fashion designers and filmmakers Kate and Laura Mulleavy mourned the loss of a “legend”.
The sisters shared a photograph of Talley attending their first runway collection in 2006 on Instagram and added: “We will never forget this incredible moment.”
Donna Karan, creator of the Donna Karan New York and DKNY fashion labels, said Talley “was fashion”.
In her tribute, the designer posted a photograph of her laughing with Talley during an interview and wrote: “There will never be another André. He was larger than life and his passion for fashion was like no other.
“Everyone loved André and he loved everyone right back. He will be remembered for his kindness, his grace, his knowledge, his style, his wisdom for this industry and its people.
“Love you André. You will always be in our hearts forever and ever.”
Canadian model Coco Rocha paid tribute to Talley and described him as a “legendary figure in fashion and a walking encyclopedia of knowledge”.
She added: “I know over the next few days, much will be mentioned of the blazing trail he forged as a black man from the segregated south who found his place in the epicentre of fashion.”
Beyond his reputation as a fashion icon, Rocha said she knew Talley personally “as a sweet and genuinely kind human being”.
“He and I were Westchester county neighbours for much of the last decade and he would often check in on my family and I.
“In the last email he sent me, we were discussing having tea and introducing him to my newest baby girl, Iley,” she wrote.
“His final departing words to me were, ‘Nothing matters in this world but family and love, and you have it’.
“I hope, in the moments before he passed, he recalled how much he also was loved by the extended family he had fostered over many decades in this industry. He will be missed.”
Rachel Zoe said the world has “lost one of the most extraordinary” people.
The designer and author, who rose to fame as a celebrity stylist, said Talley was “so much more than the most chic, elegant man I ever met”.
“I fell on every word you ever said to me because it felt as though fashion royalty was speaking to me and I was lucky to experience it,” she continued.
“You told me to stop being fearful of failure, it was wasted time, and that confidence was more chic.
“You seemed invincible to me and I can honestly say the world just became a little less glamorous today. You will be missed by so many and I thank you for inspiring me and countless others with your passion and infinite wisdom.”
Zac Posen said he was “heartbroken” by the loss of Talley and thanked the fashion icon for his “wisdom [and] support over many years of friendship”.
“André’s belief in my work meant so much to me,” he wrote on Instagram. “He was my fashion angel, deeply loved by generations at the ZP studio and my family for 20 plus years. Legend, trailblazer, a king. Going to miss you terribly.”
Christian Siriano, who gained fame after becoming the youngest winner of Project Runway, said Talley was “a legend lost”.
“André, a forever icon who changed the game for so many,” he wrote. “Thank you for all the support.”
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