HISTORY OF ANDRE LEON TALLEY
The late André Leon Talley was a fashion icon and author who lived at the forefront of the American fashion industry for decades. Throughout his decades-long career, he forged deep relationships with some of today's most True Fashionista names in art & fashion while actively shifting people's views on style and race through innovation, collaboration, and creativity initiatives worldwide. In other words, he was the truest of a True Fashionista!
HISTORY OF ANDRÉ LEON TALLEY – A SOUTHERN UPBRINGING
Talley was born in Washington D.C. on October 16, 1948, and raised by his grandmother in Durham, NC. As a child, he was heavily influenced by his grandmother's strong sense of style and elegance as she regularly attended church services wearing luxurious furs and diamonds. She raised him with traditional southern values but also allowed him to explore what made him unique and special - instilling in him the importance of being true to himself early on. At this point, we pause and remind you to be true to yourself with a fabulous authentic designer outfit from True Fashionistas consignment store Naples. Onward…
HISTORY OF ANDRÉ LEON TALLEY – THE GIFT DEVELOPS
At 14, Talley moved away from home to attend a predominantly white boarding school. It wasn't long before he was off on his own, developing his voice within the True Fashionista arts and literature communities due to his love for writing and photography. He attended Brown University, where he studied French Literature and worked part-time at local fashion shops. Here, Talley developed an eye for high-end pieces, leading him to become enthralled by the culture that surrounded it. In other words, the man was hooked!
HISTORY OF ANDRÉ LEON TALLEY – ALL ROADS LEAD TO VOGUE
After graduation, Talley dove headfirst into the True Fashionista life via an internship at Women's Wear Daily. This led to an opportunity to work with Diana Vreeland at Vogue, eventually being named Vogue's Creative Director. He held this position from 1983 to 1995, ultimately under Anna Wintour and became one of the most influential figures in the industry. His writing was recognized for its refinement and his profound understanding of fashion history. His published works have been cited multiple times as impacting how people think about True Fashionista clothing today. Check out True Fashionistas, Naples' best consignment store for a roundup of what's currently available.
HISTORY OF ANDRÉ LEON TALLEY – HELPING OTHER RISING STARS
In the 1980s, André Leon Talley was one of the first stylists to introduce haute couture pieces from European designers like Karl Lagerfeld and Christian Dior into Vogue's editorial shoots. He quickly established relationships with them. His influence helped to create a new wave within a fashion that portrayed an effortless approach towards everyday dressing that also incorporated high fashion garments; this opened up the door for many independent designers such as Alexander McQueen at Givenchy or Phoebe Philo at Chloe who were able to break through and become stars themselves over time.
HISTORY OF ANDRÉ LEON TALLEY – A FLAIR FOR FASHION JOURNALISM
Talley had a profound impact on fashion, both on the runway and in editorials, by pushing boundaries and making conscious decisions to bring diversity and inclusivity to the forefront. He has left his mark on multiple designer labels throughout his career, including Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, Versace, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Proenza Schouler, Comme des Garçons, and Tom Ford.
HISTORY OF ANDRÉ LEON TALLEY – THE RALLY FOR DIVERSITY
He also placed great importance on introducing African-American models onto runways via runway shows like Stephen Burrows' presentation at Paris Fashion Week in 1979 - which featured Pat Cleveland - or even more recently using Jacquelyn Jablonski when he styled Marc Jacobs' Louis Vuitton show in 2008. He encouraged designers to feature diverse models and pushed for more excellent representation of women of all backgrounds within the industry by developing close relationships with up-and-coming talent such as Jourdan Dunn or Joan Smalls, who have since gone on to revolutionize industry standards for inclusion.
HISTORY OF ANDRÉ LEON TALLEY – HIS FIGHT FOR SUSTAINABILITY
In addition to bringing diversity into fashion, André Leon Talley has helped promote ethical practices by publicly speaking out against garment production processes & animal cruelty as well as boycotting brands with questionable environmental records, such as fur farms or low wages towards workers abroad. This ultimately helps further build upon his legacy today while inspiring current generations of aspiring creatives to consider how their work can help make positive changes in the world.
HISTORY OF ANDRÉ LEON TALLEY - A TRUE LOVER OF THE ARTS
In addition to his successful career in fashion magazines and television, André Leon Talley was also a strong presence in the art world. He served as a trustee for The Metropolitan Museum of Art for 21 years, worked on multiple collaborations with Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, and Jean Michel Basquiat, acted as a contributing editor for Interview magazine, and became part of Diane von Furstenberg's advisory board when she opened her museum in Brussels in 2017.
André Leon Talley was active within the fashion industry as a regular attendee of high-profile events such as Paris Fashion Week or Met Gala, appearing regularly on television programs such as "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," as co-host of "House of Style" on MTV with Cindy Crawford, "Project Runway"; teaching seminars at institutions such as Parsons School of Design; giving talks about race, culture and dress codes; collaborating with brands; designing costumes for movies like "The Post," and writing two autobiographical books (The Chiffon Trenches and A Proof).
On January 18, 2022, at what many would say was the peak of his career, André Leon Talley suffered a fatal heart attack. He was 73.
HISTORY OF ANDRÉ LEON TALLEY – MEMORIALIZED
As the fashion world mourned his loss, many took to social media to express their grief. Anna Wintour eulogized for Vogue, "The loss of André is felt by so many of us today: the designers he enthusiastically cheered on every season, and who loved him for it; the generations he inspired to work in the industry, seeing a figure who broke boundaries while never forgetting where he started from; those who knew fashion, and Vogue, simply because of him; and, not forgetting, the multitude of colleagues over the years who were consistently buoyed by every discovery of André's, which he would discuss loudly, and volubly—no one could make people more excited about the most seemingly insignificant fashion details than him."
In her Superbowl 2023 halftime performance, Rihanna paid tender homage by donning a bright red sleeping bag coat by Alaia for her final two songs. Talley was quite often seen in a similar Norma Kamali coat with the same style and brilliant red hue.
This True Fashionista icon's legacy will continue to inspire future generations thanks to his remarkable work that has helped make fashion accessible to everyone. André Leon Talley will be remembered not only as one of America's most prominent figures within fashion but, more specifically, as someone who added a cultural richness to it through inclusion.
Find André Leon Talley's influence and your favorite looks at Florida's largest lifestyle consignment store, True Fashionistas. Shop, sell, and consign authentic designer clothing, accessories, and home goods in-store and 24/7 online. Be sure to sign up for our email list for exclusive discounts.