Remembering André Leon Talley
Called “one of the last great fashion editors” by Tom Ford, André Leon Talley died this week at the age of 73. The former creative director of Vogue and author of the 2020 memoir, The Chiffon Trenches, Talley was an iconic figure who influenced the direction of modern fashion.
Born in Washington, D.C. in 1948, Talley was bullied as a child growing up in North Carolina and found solace in the pages of fashion magazines. He moved to New York City in the mid-1970s, where he was mentored by Vogue editor Diana Vreeland, and later worked for Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine.
FIDM Fashion Design Co-Chair David Paul was once Talley’s assistant on a few Vogue photo shoots and remembered him as “strong, opinionated, talented, and spontaneous.” One day, while prepping for a photo shoot with Kate Hudson at the Château Marmont, a handsome waiter came by and Talley immediately proclaimed that he must be in the shoot.
“I immediately was sent to Ralph Lauren, Prada, and Gucci to get a selection of tuxedos for the waiter-turned-model," Paul recalled. "He was featured with Kate Hudson for millions of people to see and hopefully this chance encounter began a career for this young father. I will cherish the memories and miss his Over-The-Top and groundbreaking personality.”