Fashion editor and icon André Leon Talley dies, aged 73

André Leon Talley
André Leon Talley (Photo: YouTube)

André Leon Talley, best known as a pioneering, influential editor at Vogue magazine for more than three decades, has died at the age of 73. News of his death was posted to his official Instagram account. He died in hospital in White Plains, NY. No cause of death has been revealed.

Related: Fashion icon André Leon Talley: “I don’t think of body shaming. You can’t shame me.”

“It is with great sadness we announce the passing of André Leon Talley on January 18, 2022 in New York. Mr. Talley was the larger-than-life, longtime creative director at Vogue during its rise to dominance as the world’s fashion bible.

“Over the past five decades as an international icon 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.”


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Besides Vogue, his byline also appeared in Vanity Fair, Women’s Wear Daily, W magazine, HG, and Interview. He edited Numero Russia and wrote several books, including a 2020, best-selling memoir, The Chiffon Trenches. He also served as a judge on America’s Next Top Model.

Standing six-foot, seven inches tall, Talley was a well-known figure on the front row of fashion shows around the world. He would often accompany famed Vogue US Editor Anna Wintour, but it’s understood the two had a falling out around three years ago after she froze him out of the magazine for allegedly, according to Talley, being “too old, too overweight, too uncool.”

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However, in The Chiffon Trenches, Talley credits Wintour, along with Diana Vreeland and Andy Warhol, for the huge influence they had on his career. He told Vulture in May 2020, “I will not criticize her … My book is an epistle to everyone that I love. It’s a love letter to Anna Wintour. I love her deeply.”

Talley was born in Washington DC but at two months old, his parents took him to Durham, North Carolina, and he was raised by his grandmother. He relocated to New York in 1974.

An influential Black figure in the fashion world, he campaigned throughout his career for diversity both on the catwalk and behind the scenes. In 2007, Out magazine ranked him as one of its “50 Most Powerful Gay Men and Women in America”. In 2018, he was the subject of a documentary, The Gospel According to André Leon Talley, which is available to stream online.

Many in the fashion world have paid tribute following news of his death. Edward Enniful, Vogue’s first Black editor-in-chief (for British Vogue), said, “R.I.P dearest Andre. Without you, there would be no me. Thank you for paving the way.”

Belgian designer Diane von Furstenberg posted on Instagram, “Good bye darling André ❤️🙏… no one saw the world in a more elegant and glamorous way than you did ❤️🙏… no one was more soulful and grander than you were ❤️🙏…the world will be less joyful now ❤️🙏 I have loved you and laughed with you for 45 years…. I will miss your loud screams and your loyal friendship…I love you soooo much ❤️🙏”

Designer Marc Jacobs said, “I am in shock. You championed me and you have been my friend since my beginning. Our chats, the moments we shared….oh my friend. You and your passions were larger than life. I love you and I will miss you dear Andre.”


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Shortly after this story was published, Vogue magazine also posted about Talley’s death.

Talley’s former colleague, Anna Wintour said he was a “figure who broke boundaries while never forgetting where he started from.”

She continued, “It’s the loss of Andre 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.”


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