It has been confirmed that André Leon Talley, one of the most venerable figures in fashion, has passed away at the age of 73.
Born in Washington, D.C. in 1948 and raised in Durham, North Carolina, Talley has touched every imaginable aspect of the fashion world as a respected journalist, editor, author and creative director. He attributed his grandmother's presence in his upbringing as a major impact in his life and career growing up in the Jim Crow South.
After attending an all Black high school, he went on to attend North Carolina Central University where he got his Bachelor of Arts degree in French literature. He then received a scholarship to attend Brown University where he received his Master of Arts degree in French literature. Initially, his intention was to teach French; however, his love of the romantic language affected his love of luxury and style.
ALT got his start interning for fashion editor Diana Vreeland who later connected him to Andy Warhol. It was this connection that led him to work at Warhol's Interview magazine. Other publications that were graced by his gift include Women's Wear Daily, W and New York Times. Talley most notably rose to prominence as Editor-At-Large of American Vogue. He served in this role until his departure in 2013. Through his work at the publication and many other fashionable endeavors, he diligently worked to shift the culture of diversity in fashion.
In 2003, he published a widely popular memoir of his life entitled A.L.T.: A Memoir. In 2017, André Leon Talley released The Gospel According to André as an updated, cinematic memoir complete with reflections from childhood friends, fashion luminaries and celebrities who have all been touched by his artistic gift. The bestselling author's last book, The Chiffon Trenches, highlights the highs and lows of the fashion industry through his unique point of view. In the book, he detailed his experience working as a fashion editor for EBONY from 1980 through 1981.
"My family did not read WWD at all, nor would they even have known where to purchase that publication. But they all subscribed to and read the monthly EBONY, as well as Jet...Finally, I had a job that would make my entire church family and all my aunts and cousins proud," said Talley regarding his time at the esteemed Black culture magazine.
Adding to his list of accolades, Talley acted as a consultant for the Obama family as they navigated the White House. His knowledge and reverence of history and fashion has undoubtedly furthered his status as a largely influential figure and tastemaker globally.
Since the announcement of his passing Tuesday evening, various tributes have been paid from fashion icons across the generations across the globe. An official announcement was posted to his Instagram page early Wednesday morning.
André Leon Talley's undeniable presence in fashion, both physical and symbolic, influenced all who witnessed his greatness. His rich legacy lies in his understanding of curating and seeking luxury as a means of liberation and excellence, no matter one's means or background. A purveyor of beauty and style in varied forms, Talley has left an indelible legacy within the fashion community and on society as a whole.
We send our condolences to all who know and loved him. His voice in fashion will be deeply missed.