Just as we were still mourning the loss of Betty White, former Vogue editor Andre Leon Talley passed away Tuesday of COVID complications. The 6’6 fashion icon was described as being like a black Rockette and said he was called names like “Queen Kong” growing up but he had the last laugh when it was all over. Coming from the Jim Crow South who took a bus to college on his own before going on to become the first black man to have the title of Vogue’s Creative Director.
Talley’s rise at Vogue was big deal to say Anna Wintour recently apologized for stating she’s not found enough ways to promote blacks within the publication… an interesting fact given she’s been at the helm for 3 decades. Talley said in 2020 on Sandra Bernhard’s SiriusXM show, “She’s a colonial dame. I do not think she will ever let anything get in the way of her white privilege.”
He’s said in interviews that he doesn’t find himself that interesting but he’s one of the biggest personalities you can find in fashion. He was interesting enough to receive the Savannah College of Art Design’s first lifetime achievement award over 20 years ago. In fact, the award’s since been renamed the André Leon Talley Lifetime Achievement Award.
Celebrities reacted from Kim Kardashian posting a pic with him captioned with “Love you, Andre” to Marc Jacobs writing, “You championed me and you have been my friend since my beginning,” adding, “You and your passions were larger than life. I love you and I will miss you dear André.” Tracee Ellis Ross wrote, “André Leon Talley. You were grand and glamorous, complex and marvelous. Capes, caftans and style. A trailblazer. It was so exciting seeing you somewhere. I would run across a room to say hello. I am sad you are gone. You changed things and brought us all so much. A true original. Rest In Peace!”
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Kim Kardashian remembers the late fashion icon and former Vogue Creative Director André Leon Talley:
“Love you Andre 💔” pic.twitter.com/0IbAT6XVBS
— Jenn (@_xmarissabee) January 19, 2022
Fashion’s elegant giant has fallen. Emancipated from the troubles of this world. Land softly and safely my friend into the loving arms of Almighty God.
Rest in Power and Grace, Andre Leon Talley👑 pic.twitter.com/OPId0UNI7t
— Mariah Carey (@MariahCarey) January 19, 2022
We mourn the loss of André Leon Talley, a fashion icon and DC native. He advised world leaders on fashion, and through his work, elevated style that transcended race. We send strength to his family and loved ones. pic.twitter.com/4GQkGKTqF0
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) January 19, 2022
Talley once said in an interview, “I showed you I can be what I said I’m going to be.” So much of what he wasn’t supposed to be or do is what he accomplished and because of it and him paving the way for so many, he’s going to be missed.