Fashion world mourns ‘indomitable’ Andre Leon Talley
The fashion industry is mourning the loss of “indomitable” Andre Leon Talley, following his death at the age of 73.
The former Vogue creative director died in New York on Tuesday, his representatives, TAA PR, said in a statement.
During a career spanning five decades, he befriended big names in the fashion world, including Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld and Paloma Picasso.
Fellow designers, models and other members of the industry paid tribute to Talley as a “force of nature”.
Sharing a vintage photo of the pair on Instagram, US designer Marc Jacobs said he was “in shock” following the news.
“You championed me and you have been my friend since my 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 Andre.
“Rest In Peace.”
Belgian designer Diane von Furstenberg said no-one was “grander and more soulful”.
Sharing a picture of him, she wrote: “Good bye darling Andre.
“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 soooo much.”
Edward Enninful, editor-in-chief of British Vogue, wrote on Instagram: “R.I.P dearest Andre. Without you, there would be no me. Thank you for paving the way.”
Actress and supermodel Milla Jovovich lamented the loss of a “force of nature” in her tribute and said she felt “lucky” to have encountered him multiple times in her career.
“Andre Leon Talley was such an incredible artist, but he was also one of the most genuinely wonderful humans I’ve ever met,” she said.
“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 Andre. It was an honor and a privilege”.
Costume designer Arianne Phillips, known for her work on films including Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, said Talley was a “larger than life icon”.
She wrote on Instagram: “Andre Leon Talley trailblazer, dapper gentleman, fashion editor, writer, journalist 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 Andre.”
US actresses Kerry Washington, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer also posted online tributes to Talley.
Washington joked that the afterlife would be “just too fabulous” following Talley’s death.
“Oh Andre! Heaven is not ready for you darling!” she wrote on Instagram.
“The whole afterlife is going to be just too fabulous now. Ugh! You blessed us! Sir! You blessed us with your charm and wit and your taste for the exceptional.
“You will shine so brightly from the heavens that we will know what true stardom looks like.
“And we will gaze up at you always. In awe. And with gratitude. Rest In Peace.”
TAA PR confirmed the designer’s death on Tuesday in a statement.
“It is with great sadness we announce the passing of our dear friend and client, the indomitable Andre Leon Talley on January 18, 2022 in New York,” the company said.
“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.”
As a fashion journalist Talley worked at Women’s Wear Daily and Vogue and was a regular in the front row of fashion shows in New York and Europe.
His byline also appeared in other publications including Vanity Fair, HG and Interview, and he was the editor of Numero Russia.
He was hired by Anna Wintour at Vogue in 1983, and in 1998 was appointed the magazine’s creative director.
In 2018 he appeared in The Gospel According To Andre, a documentary on his life, directed by Kate Novack.
Talking to British Vogue about the film at the time, he also reminisced about working with Andy Warhol, saying: “It was wonderful. It was like being in high school. We worked hard, it was a professional office, but it was also a social club. Everyone in the Warhol universe was equal, and it was all just a blast.”
Talley often spoke fondly of and referred to Diana Vreeland, the former US Vogue editor who he considered his mentor.
He appeared on TV on numerous occasions, including as a judge on American’s Next Top Model, and also had roles in Sex And The City and Empire.
During his tenure at Conde Nast, he was the force behind numerous notable shoots and interviews, including one with former US first lady Michelle Obama.