Fashion legend and Vogue icon André Leon Talley sadly passes away, age 73

The fashion world lost a beloved member yesterday, after Talley's battle with an unknown illness.

Black and white photo of André Leon Talley sitting and wearing a large flowy garment with his hands clasped in his lap
Image: Instagram @andreltalley

André Leon Talley, fashion icon and Vogue’s first Black creative director, sadly lost his life earlier this week as confirmed by his literary agent.

Talley first fell in love with fashion when he was only nine or ten years old, according to an interview he did with NPR in 2018. At that age, he discovered a copy of Vogue magazine at his local library and it was love at first sight.

“[Vogue] was my gateway to the world outside of Durham,” he said, referring to his hometown in North Carolina with his grandmother. “It was the world of literature, what was happening in the world of art, what was happening in the world of entertainment.”

After studying French literature at Brown University, Talley went on to become Vogue’s fashion news director, creative director and finally editor-at-large over the course of his 30 years with the industry-defining magazine.

Known for his signature flowing capes and kaftans, Talley’s prolific work in fashion was groundbreaking for other Black men who went on to thrive in the industry, including Edward Enninful who became the first Black editor of British Vogue.

“RIP dearest André. Without you, there would be no me,” Enninful wrote on Instagram, in a tribute to the late Talley. “Thank you for paving the way.”

Talley was known for his passionate efforts to boost diversity and inclusion in the industry and there’s been an outpouring of love from his beloved friends and fans on social media since the announcement of his passing.

“Good bye darling Andre,” said Diane Von Furstenberg, Belgian fashion designer and close personal friend of Talley. “No one saw the world in a more elegant and glamorous way than you did.”

“For a little Black gay boy who reached for the stars from the south there were few people I could look up to up there amongst the stars who looked like me just more fab except for you André,” Tweeted writer Jeremy O’Harris. “For a generation of boys André Leon Talley was a beacon of grace and aspiration. RIP.”

“André Leon Talley made it possible for so many Black queer boys and men to express ourselves out loud. No reservations,” wrote Trevor Project attorney and director of advocacy and government affairs, Preston Mitchum. “A legend. An icon. May he rest in peace and power knowing that he paved the way for many people who looked up to him.”

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