The world is mourning a fashion visionary. Sadly, on Tuesday, André Leon Talley, the former editor of Vogue magazine, passed away, according to reports from TMZ. The outlet learned that the creative died in a White Plains, New York hospital. He was 73.
His cause of death remains unclear at this time. There has been no official report on what led to his death, but The Houston Chronicle spoke to his friend Dr. Yvonne Cormier who claimed he passed away as a result of COVID-19 complications. Meanwhile, GQ reported that he died of a heart attack. An official statement was shared to Talley’s Instagram account, highlighting his many successes over the years, but it did not reveal any health issues that may have led to this loss. Check it out (below).
So very sad…
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As mentioned, André was a beloved fashion journalist, stylist, and creative director. He worked as Vogue‘s fashion news director from 1983 to 1987 before being promoted to creative director in 1988, making history as the magazine’s first Black male creative director. He also worked as editor-at-large from 1998 to 2013. In his 2020 memoir The Chiffon Trenches, he reflected:
“There was no higher accolade she could give me, as the masthead portrayed. Anna Wintour made me the highest-ranking black man in the history of fashion journalism.”
Throughout his impressive career, he worked with stars like Yves Saint Laurent, Princess Diana, Madonna, and many more. He also served as a judge on America’s Next Top Model and made appearances in hits like Empire and Sex and The City. A 2018 documentary, The Gospel According to André, detailed his life, explaining in the synopsis:
“The viewer is invited back to his childhood in Jim Crow-era North Carolina. His beloved grandmother, Bennie, raised him, schooling him in decorum, religion, and, unsurprisingly, clothes, sparking an early and powerful love for all things fashion. This led him to New York City, where he battled—and continues to battle—both racist and homophobic assumptions about black men in the industry.”
In the wake of his passing, the trailblazer has been remembered by many Hollywood A-listers and fashion icons. For starters, designer Diane von Furstenberg took to Instagram with a heartfelt tribute, writing:
“No one saw the world in a more elegant and glamorous way than you did… no one was more soulful and grander than you were…the world will be less joyful now.”
Andy Cohen also took a moment to reflect on the loss of a dear friend during Tuesday night’s episode of Watch What Happens Live, telling viewers:
“I’m a little off right now because during the break, we got news that our dear friend of the clubhouse André Leon Talley has passed away. TMZ has just reported that, and André was just was such an incredible life force. When I think of him, he just was boisterous. He was bold. He was lively. We loved having him here. He had a booming voice. He just gave so much energy and love to everyone around him at all times.”
Just riffing here about Andre… he was an incredible person who lived an incredible, groundbreaking life. Highly recommend his book THE CHIFFON TRENCHES https://t.co/WZlVMbK2yb
— Andy Cohen (@Andy) January 19, 2022
William Norwich, a former Vogue editor and commissioning editor for fashion and interior design at the Phaidon Press, told People:
“He was what you saw on TV, larger than life in body, mind, and spirit. The one thing I’d like people to know about André was that he wasn’t grand, he was majestic. There’s a difference. Grand is a snob, false airs; majesty is transcendent, a state of grace, a generosity of spirit, a real elegance.”
Taking to IG with a throwback photo (above), Marc Jacobs shared:
“I am in shock. You championed me and you have been my friend since my beginning. 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.”
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Many former Vogue interns also reflected on their time with the fashion mogul, including stylist Stacy London, saying:
“I saw a post about Andre that said ‘this one really hurts.’ As one of his assistants in my 1st job at Vogue, this is more true than I can say… The most gracious of gentleman. The most demanding of bosses. The most talented of aesthetes. The most astute of historians. The kindest of men. RIP Andre – you will always be a light and so terribly missed.”
Similarly, Derek Blasberg, the head of fashion and beauty at YouTube, mused:
“No one told a story like Andre Leon Talley. His inflection, his intonation, his hand gestures: He could spin a fairy tail out of a ruffle or a sleeve. He breathed fashion. He broke barriers in this industry. He was original, funny, biting, ornate, and utterly fabulous. As a Vogue intern in college, he gave me my first break, and I’ll never forget his kindness and encouragement. I’m saddened to hear of his passing and send love and best wishes to all of us who will miss him.”
Check out many more tributes to Talley (below).
What a sad loss. Andre was such an impactful icon in the fashion world. May he rest in peace.