“My Eyes Are Starving For Beauty” - The Life And Legacy Of André Leon Talley

Talley faced intense racism and homophobia growing up in the Jim Crow south. First introduced to fashion by his grandmother who raised him, he spent his days reading Vogue magazines - he recalled for The Guardian that he was stoned by college students when he went to buy a new issue.

"My world became the glossy pages of Vogue, where I could read about Truman Capote's legendary ball, given at the Plaza, in honor of Katharine Graham.” - from ‘The Chiffon Trenches’.

In his career, Talley worked across the most significant publications, from cutting his teeth at the Warhol-founded interview magazine to being a creative director and editor-at-large for US Vogue. His extraordinary fashion knowledge and talent lead him to every corner of the fashion world, befriending and advising everyone from Karl Lagerfeld to Michelle Obama.

“You must connect things in history. You must! You can’t just sit down and take things at face value, in the way that people jump on things on the internet.” - Talley for The Cut.

By some, he was coined ‘The Only One’ - partly because of the presence he held, but also his position as one of the only black people at that level of a notoriously racist and elitist industry.

Not only working as one of the most significant fashion journalists, Talley leaves a legacy of championing burgeoning designers and creatives. He played a huge role in pushing for the use of black models on the runway and magazine pages, mentoring the likes of Naomi Campbell.

André Leon Talley was too an indomitable presence in how he dressed.  Standing at 6’7”, he was instantly recognisable for bold kaftan capes and signature Norma Kamali coat; in his early days, he sported Turnbull & Asser shirts coupled with yellow knee socks and moccasins, his “armour”.

“I do believe there's a heaven. I do believe that God has given me the resilience and the survival skills to withstand the chiffon trenches.”

We recommend watching The Gospel According to Andre, or picking up a copy of ‘The Chiffon Trenches’. It’s a legacy worth diving further into.