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André Leon Talley was his name. Fashion was his life. In an industry built on defining and defying standards of beauty and art, Talley shined even amongst the stars.
For over six decades he stood out in runways dominated by the creativity and direction of white artists and influencers. In his signature eccentric and debonair style, Talley pushed boundaries that challenged the status quo and injected the industry with a much needed dose of Black cover models and culture.
Having worked for Vogue in a number of high-ranking capacities along with so many other iconic fashion designers, Talley quickly built a name for himself as a friendly disruptor and regal stylist. At 6-foot-7 it’s not hyperbole to call him a Giant in the spaces he graced including America’s Next Top Model, along with autobiographical writing, enlightening documentaries, and a Grammy nominated audiobook.
A legend takes his place among the stars
To be aligned with legendary names like Andy Warhol and Anna Wintour was no small feat for a kid out of Durham, North Carolina who always loved French language and culture. Yet, he also connected with the next generation of Black influencers who use their art to speak to our society ills.
In his 2020 memoir The Chiffon Trenches, Talley wrote:
“Although great strides have been made, I’m still very aware of my being black in this country… No matter what you do, who you are, what career you choose, as a black man, you realize everyday that our country was founded on the misguided rules and conceits of racism and slavery. A black man goes through life realizing, There but for the Grace of God go I.”
Repose en Paix. (Rest In Peace)