Influential fashion journalist Andre Leon Talley, the first Black creative director of Vogue, died on Tuesday in New York at the age of 73, with figures from fashion and entertainment paying tribute.
ANDRE LEON TALLEY A â€˜LARGER-THAN-LIFEâ€™ FIGURE
â€œIt is with great sadness we announce the passing of Andre Leon Talley,â€ a statement posted on his official Instagram account said, without specifying the cause of death.
â€œMr Talley was the larger-than-life, longtime creative director at Vogue during its rise to dominance as the worldâ€™s fashion bible.â€
â€œOver the past five decades as an international icon (he) was a close confidant of Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, Paloma Picasso, Diane von Furstenberg and he had a penchant for discovering, nurturing and celebrating young designers.â€
ANDRE LEON TALLEY â€˜SCORCHED THE EARTHâ€™ WITH HIS TALENT
Born in Washington in 1948, Talley was largely raised by his grandmother in Durham, North Carolina and was interested in fashion from an early age.
â€œEvery Sunday I would walk across the railroad tracks into the affluent part of Durham and buy Vogue and Harperâ€™s Bazaar, and go back to my grandmotherâ€™s house, read my magazines. I was allowed to retreat from the bullying and the sexual abuse into a beautiful world,â€ he told The Guardian in a May 2020 interview.
Talley studied French at university, going on to earn a masterâ€™s at prestigious Brown University and then entered the world of fashion journalism.
After stints with Andy Warholâ€™s Interview magazine, Womenâ€™s Wear Daily, W, and a brief spell at The New York Times, Talley joined Vogue as fashion news director in 1983, the same year as now editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.
It was the start of a three-decade association with the fashion bible, serving as creative director, contributing editor and later editor-at-large until his departure in 2013.
â€œI scorched the Earth with my talent and I let my light shine,â€ he told The Guardian in his 2020 interview.
TRIBUTES POUR IN FOR ANDRE LEON TALLEY
A flamboyant and towering figure in fashion, Talley nurtured Black designers and lobbied for more diversity on the runway.
Besides his fashion journalism, Talley served as a judge on Americaâ€™s Next Top Model and also appeared in episodes of Sex and The City and Empire.
He wrote three books, including his 2020 best-selling memoir The Chiffon Trenches in which he detailed his famous falling out with powerful Vogue chief Wintour. Top figures from the worlds of fashion and entertainment paid tribute to him on social media.
â€œGoodbye darling Andreâ€¦ no one saw the world in a more elegant and glamorous way than you did,â€ veteran designer Diane von Furstenberg said on Instagram.
â€œNo one was more soulful and grander than you were. The world will be less joyful. I have loved you and laughed with you for 45 years. I miss your loud screamsâ€¦ I love you soooo much,â€ she said.
â€œI am sad to hear of Andre Leon Talleyâ€™s passing. My thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones,â€ Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer tweeted.
Fellow Oscar-winner Viola Davis posted a photograph of herself and Tulley on Twitter, saying:
â€œRIP Andre Leon Talley. Rest well King.â€
Slave Play playwright Jeremy O Harris was also among those paying tribute.
â€œFor a little black gay boy who reached for the stars from the south there were few people I could look up to up there amongst the stars who looked like me just more fab except for you Andre,â€ Harris tweeted.
â€œFor a generation of boys Andre Leon Talley was a beacon of grace and aspiration. RIP.â€