André Leon Talley, a legendary fashion journalist who helped shape Vogue during his decades-long association with the magazine, has died at age 73, ET can confirm.
TMZ was the first to report that the flamboyant fashion icon had passed while hospitalized in White Plains, New York; a cause of death has not yet been revealed.
“Talley was instrumental to Vogue‘s vision and direction in the ’80s and ’90s, when he worked his way up the magazine ranks to eventually become the news director — which he helmed from ’83 to ’87 — and then ascended to Vogue‘s creative director in ’88,” wrote TMZ.
Talley’s official Instagram page then announced the sad news Wednesday:
After more than a decade as editor-at-large, Talley parted ways with Vogue in 2018, reportedly due to a falling out with editor-in-chief Anna Wintour; he described their relationship as “an iceberg” in his 2020 autobiography, The Chiffon Trenches, writing that Wintour is “not capable of simple human kindness.”
Talley cut an imposing figure in the fashion scene due to his height (he was six foot seven), his penchant for colourful caftans and his sheer flamboyance. He also advised the Obamas on fashion, introducing Michelle Obama to designer Jason Wu, who created her inaugural gown.
As Talley declared in an interview with the Irish Times, “I scorched the earth with my talent and I let my light shine.”
Tributes have been pouring in for the star, with Wintour telling Vogue: “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; and, not forgetting, the multitude of colleagues over the years who were consistently buoyed by every new discovery of André’s, which he would discuss loudly, and volubly—no one could make people more excited about the most seemingly insignificant fashion details than him. Even his stream of colourful faxes and emails were a highly anticipated event, something we all looked forward to.
“Yet it’s the loss of André as my colleague and friend that I think of now; it’s immeasurable. He was magnificent and erudite and wickedly funny—mercurial, too. Like many decades-long relationships, there were complicated moments, but 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.”
Tyra Banks said in a statement to ET: “I adored Andre. Before meeting him, I had never experienced such a prolific person serving up a rare mix of fashion ‘fabulousness’ and real down-home southern comfort love. Being in his presence was so magical. He made me smile, laugh and was a masterful teacher – a genius historian.
“Scholar, colleague, effervescent spirit, legend… you are resting now, Dearest Andre. But your spirit, your je ne sais quoi, your iconic voice… I hear it now. And will forever. We all will.”
Diane von Furstenberg posted:
Viola Davis added:
Billy Porter shared:
See more tributes below.
RIP Andre Leon Talley. He was a beacon of style for so many. Just fucking terrible.
— roxane gay (@rgay) January 19, 2022
Too many greats entering the ancestral realm.
But their impact will always be felt and spoken about.
Rest well, André Leon Talley. pic.twitter.com/U0JlcLa5a1
— Morgan Jerkins (@MorganJerkins) January 19, 2022
Andre Leon Tally has passed. I am heartbroken. He was someone whose heart was as big as his personality. What an icon, what a trailblazer, what a legend, what patriot, what a teddy bear. Rest In Power sir. You will be missed. #andreleontalley pic.twitter.com/i72Cp7EJRf
— Lizz "Watch Feminist Buzzkills Live!" Winstead (@lizzwinstead) January 19, 2022