The fashion industry is in mourning as one of the most prolific names in the industry has passed away. Former Vogue magazine editor-at-large and America’s Next Top Model judge Andre Leon Talley died on January 18, as announced on his official Instagram page. He was 73 at the time of his passing.
According to his Instagram post, Andre Leon Talley was a close confidant of Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, Paloma Picasso, Diane von Furstenberg, Bethann Hardison, Manolo Blahnik and he had a penchant for discovering, nurturing and celebrating young designers. Thus, he had a lot of pull with the heavyweights and new talents in the industry.
For the past five decades, Talley has been an international icon in the fashion world. He started working for Vogue in 1983, and in 1988 was named the fashion bible’s creative director, ultimately also serving as editor-at-large. Talley served as Vogue’s editor-at-large until 2013, when he left to pursue a new job as editor in chief of Russian style magazine Numero Russia. He had that role for a year.
With his 6 foot 6 frame, he always had a towering presence and larger-than-life personality. He’s a staple at the most glamorous fashion shows worldwide, usually wearing his signature flowing robes. Throughout his career, he always advocated for diversity, encouraging top designers to include Black models in their collections.
Aside from holding an important position as the most prestigious fashion publication globally, Talley also authored several books. His works include Valentino, A.L.T.: A Memoir, A.L.T. 365+ and Little Black Dress for Assouline, and contributed to Valentino: At the Emperor’s Table and Cartier Panthère.
As expected, many big names in the fashion industry have expressed their sadness because of his passing. Among those who mourned his passing is renowned designer Diane von Furstenberg. “No one saw the world in a more elegant and glamorous way than you did,” she said in an Instagram post. “No one was more soulful and grander than you were.”
Another figure that posted about his death is top model Coco Rocha. “His final departing words to me were, “Nothing matters in this world but family and love, and you have IT.” I hope, in the moments before he passed, he recalled how much he also was loved by the extended family he had fostered over many decades in this industry,” she shared.
Given his impact for the past five decades, it comes as no surprise that he is loved by many and will be dearly missed.
Art Macky Arquilla