Touching tribute. Following André Leon Talley’s death on Tuesday, January 18, longtime friend and former Vogue coworker Anna Wintour released a statement honoring the late fashion icon, who passed away at 73.
The 72-year-old editor-in-chief acknowledged that the pair had a “complicated” relationship in recent years, but took the opportunity to call out Talley’s boundary-breaking impact on the industry.
“The loss of André is felt by so many of us today: the designers he enthusiastically cheered on every season, and who loved him for it; the generations he inspired to work in the industry, seeing a figure who broke boundaries while never forgetting where he started from; those who knew fashion, and Vogue, simply because of him,” Wintour wrote in a Wednesday, January 19, statement that was released on Vouge’s website.
In 1982, Talley accepted a role as the fashion news director at the famed publication. That same year, Wintour was named Vogue’s creative director. The duo climbed the ranks together, with Talley eventually being appointed as the creative director and Wintour as the editor-in-chief. Talley served as the creative director from 1988 to 1995 and went on to be the publication’s editor-at-large from 1998 to 2013, before existing.
While Wintour took the opportunity to reflect on her time working with Talley, she explained that it’s his “immeasurable” loss that takes precedence. “He was magnificent and erudite and wickedly funny — mercurial, too,” she quipped, before adding that their “decades-long relationship” had some “complicated moments.”
“All I want to remember today, all I care about, is the brilliant and compassionate man who was a generous and loving friend to me and to my family for many, many years, and who we will all miss so much.”
While Wintour and Talley spent many years as close friends, they dealt with their fair share of conflict, namely after Talley was removed from his role hosting the Met Gala red carpet in 2018. While talking about his autobiography, “The Chiffon Trenches: A Memoir,” on CBS This Morning in May 2020, Talley explained that his relationship with Wintour hit “an iceberg.”
That said, he considered his book a “love letter” to the editor-in-chief. “And so this is a painful thing for me, but it is a love letter about the joys as well as the lows of my life. And the joys of my life have been with Anna Wintour,” he explained. “But this book will help unpeel the onion about her. This is about is a Black man’s experience in a very insulated world.”
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