Hollywood stars and members of the fashion industry remember Vogue’s ‘tall and moving’ editor Andre Leon Talley for his ‘charm, wit and taste for the exceptional’ after his death in 73 years old.
The fashion trendsetter was a trailblazer in magazines and on the front row of couture shows as a black man, and he became recognizable outside of the industry for his role as a judge on the reality show America’s Next Top Model.
The former creative director of Vogue, who worked alongside editor-in-chief Anna Wintour for decades until their relationship broke down, died in New York on Tuesday.
In a career spanning five decades, he befriended big names in the fashion world, including Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld and Paloma Picasso, and was adored by the A-list of Hollywood.
Actresses such as Kerry Washington, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer have paid tribute, with the Scandal Washington star joking that the afterlife would be “just too fabulous” after Talley’s death.
“O Andrew! Heaven is not ready for you my darling! she wrote on Instagram.
“The whole afterlife is going to be just too fabulous now. Ugh! You have blessed us! Sir! You have blessed us with your charm and your wit and your taste for the exceptional.
“You’ll shine so brightly from the sky that we’ll know what real fame looks like.
“And we will always be watching you. In admiration. And with gratitude. Rest in peace.”
Oscar-winning actor Davis wrote, “RIP Andre Leon Talley. Rest well King,” while Spencer tweeted, “Sad to hear of the passing of Andre Leon Talley. My thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones. »
Actress and model Milla Jovovich lamented the loss of a “force of nature” in her tribute and said she felt “lucky” to have met him several times in her career.
“Andre Leon Talley was such an amazing artist, but he was also one of the most genuinely wonderful humans I’ve ever met,” she said.
“Always there with the loveliest smile and open arms, he was so sweet and kind, always so gracious and I imagine the term ‘fierce’ was coined after I met him.
“I feel so lucky to have been embraced in its warm glow so many times in my career, because good people are rare in this business and you’re much more likely to encounter a scowl when you go places than its ever present, all encompassing beauty.
“Sending you so much love André. It has been an honor and a privilege”.
Designers, models and others in the fashion industry have paid tribute to Talley, while British Vogue editor Edward Enninful credited him for leading the way.
He wrote on Instagram: “RIP my dear André. Without you, there would be no me. Thank you for leading the way.”
Sharing a vintage photo of the pair on Instagram, American designer Marc Jacobs said he was “shocked” at the news.
“You stood up for me and you’ve been my friend since my debut,” he said.
“Our talks, the times we shared… oh my friend. You and your passions were larger than life. I love you and I will miss you dear André.
“Rest in peace.”
Belgian designer Diane von Furstenberg said no one was “grander and more moving”.
Sharing a photo of him, she wrote: “Goodbye my darling André.
“No one saw the world more glamorously than you did…no one was grander and more moving than you were
“The world will be less joyful. I have loved you and laughed with you for 45 years…I miss your loud cries…I love you so much.
Talley’s representatives, TAA PR, confirmed his death Tuesday in a statement.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our dear friend and client, the indomitable Andre Leon Talley, on January 18, 2022 in New York City,” the company said.
“Mr. Talley was the long-time, larger-than-life creative director of Vogue during its rise to prominence as the global 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.”
Talley was hired by Wintour at Vogue in 1983 and in 1998 was named the magazine’s creative director.
He left the magazine in 1995 for a stint at fashion publication W before returning to Vogue as editor until 2013.
In 2020, he released his memoir, The Chiffon Trenches, which shared details about his complex relationship with Wintour.
Talley was also a larger than life on-screen personality and in 2018 he appeared in the documentary The Gospel According to Andre, directed by Kate Novack.
He’s also starred himself on shows such as Sex And The City and Empire, and served as a judge alongside Tyra Banks in America’s Next Top Model modeling contest.
During his tenure at Conde Nast, he was the force behind many notable shoots and interviews, including one with former US first lady Michelle Obama, and is credited with helping to uplift a number of black role models.