Talley longed for life “in the pages Vogue where bad things didn’t happen

Talley was a fashion industry figure who was overly flamboyant and snobbish, as well as a bit overbearing. He died yesterday at the age of 73. Talley was a lover of French culture, and the cross-fertilisation between fashion, art and poetry.

He spent four decades at Conde Nast, where he was the creative director of Vogue and editor-at large. This shaped our understanding and discussion about fashion.

Talley, born in Washington state in 1948, was raised in segregated North Carolina by his grandmother. He graduated from high school in the year 1966. was a bookish who dreamed.

It would be wonderful to live a life as I have seen in Vogue, where nothing bad ever happens.

He was a regular churchgoer and later compared that ritual to visiting a royal court. I mentally filed away the bright clothes of women and their carefully chosen accessories.

Talley attended college at a historically Black university, North Carolina Central University, before earning his master’s degree at Brown University in Rhode Island, the first member of his family to attend an Ivy League school.

He wrote his thesis at Brown on the black models of Charles Baudelaire, a figure who defended fashion as the epitome of modernity.

New fashion narratives

Talley’s very first job in fashion was working as an assistant to Diana Vreeland at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

He fired her as editor of American Vogue from 1963 to 1971 for her excessive literary imagination and expensive fashion shoots. She pioneered the theatrical approach in fashion exhibitions, where dress was linked to epic themes, in her second career as a Costume Institute curator at the Met.

She was Talley’s perfect mentor and filled his imagination with tales of luxury, fashion icons from the past and present, and the sweep and diversity of world culture.

Diana Ross and Andre Leon Talley at Studio 54 in New York City circa 1979. Photo by Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images

Talley worked for Andy Warhol in 1975 at the Interview magazine. Talley, who earned US$50 per week, dressed in preppy clothes and wore striped shirts, tight jeans, and preppy clothing.

He was absorbed by the world of Studio 54 regulars, where he was photographed regularly with jet-set and older movie icons. Warhol brought this myth to life in new and unexpected ways.

Read more: Halston: The glittering rise – and spectacular fall – of a fashion icon.

In the 1970s and 1980s, American fashion magazines were performing important work in recovering older stylistic histories and fashion narratives.

Talley became the first African American man to cover Paris fashion shows for Women’s Wear Daily & Vogue. He began wearing bespoke suits inspired by the Duke of Windsor.

Talley, who writes for Women’s Wear Daily as well as styling photographs. Talley was a master at capturing the sensuality and languidity of 1970s fashion. However, his work was not always well received.

His closeness to fashion aristocrats Yves Saint Laurent, Betty Catroux, and others in France caused jealousy. Talley was intimidated when rumors spread that he only became popular because he had slept with black men. He was called “Queen Kong” by some.

Wider worlds

Vreeland wrote in 1978 that his report on the Yves Saint Laurent Broadway Collection was the best fashion report she had ever read. It was “a masterwork of description”.

Talley was gifted at reading fashion very closely. Talley was able to read style very closely, not just in terms of how it looked but also where it originated, what it meant, and how it resonated.

Talley, who wore Savile-Row regimental dresses or capes similar to Balenciaga, joined Vogue in 1983 as the fashion news director. She later became creative director and editor at large.

For Talley, Vogue is more than just fashion. As in Vreeland’s time, it became a literary universe during Talley’s time. He was among the first fashion photographers to combine couture and inexpensive clothing in fashion shoots. In a Helmut Newton spread, he styled Chanel couture with the model’s jeans.

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