The worlds of fashion and Hollywood have come together to pay tribute to the late style icon André Leon Talley, three months after he passed away.
A memorial was held for the adored fashion journalist on April 29 at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York, and numerous celebrities came to pay their respects, including Karlie Kloss, Naomi Campbell, and even Anna Wintour – despite the fact that her and Talley’s once-close friendship had turned sour before his death.
Talley, who worked as Vogue’s editor-at-large from 1998 to 2013, railed against Wintour two years before he passed away, writing in his memoir that the Vogue editor-in-chief dropped him from her inner circle for being ‘too old, overweight, and uncool,’ and claiming that she never said anything ‘human and sincere’ to him during their many years working together at the company.
Talley died on January 18, 2022, at age 73, at a White Plains, New York, hospital after suffering from a heart attack, believed to have been caused by complicated of COVID-19, and his sad passing left a gaping hole in the fashion world.
Now, many of Hollywood’s biggest names have gathered to honor the beloved Talley – including Wintour, despite their rocky relationship near the end of his life.
Many stars have gathered to pay tribute to the late style icon André Leon Talley. A memorial was held for the fashion journalist on April 29 at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York, and numerous celebrities came to pay their respects, including Anna Wintour (who was accompanied by her son Charles Shaffer)
Karlie Kloss was spotted entering the memorial with longtime friend and journalist Derek Blasberg. She donned black flowing pants, a feathered black top and a matching blazer. She also wore dark sunglasses as she walked into the Harlem church
Naomi Campbell, on the other hand, chose a much more flashy outfit – she sported an enormous, white fur coat, which left her long legs on full display, and and a jutting head piece which would ensure all eyes were on her
Marc Jacobs wore a burgundy suit and kept his hair neatly slicked back; he carried a mysterious white folder
Gayle King was photographed looking somber as she made her way into the memorial, wearing a tight blue down and a leather jacket
Kloss was spotted entering the memorial with longtime friend and journalist Derek Blasberg.
She donned black flowing pants, a feathered top and a matching blazer. She also wore dark sunglasses as she walked into the Harlem church.
Marc Jacobs wore a burgundy suit and kept his hair neatly slicked back; he carried a mysterious white folder. He was accompanied by his husband, Char Defrancesco, for the service.
Wintour was seen in a navy skirt and shirt combo, which she kept buttoned tightly. She completed the look with blue tights and white pumps.
She clutched tightly to her son, Charles Shaffer – a 37-year-old doctor who kept it simple in a black suit. They were joined by Wintour’s daughter, Bee Shaffer, 34, who opted for a tight-fitting indigo dress.
Gayle King was photographed looking somber as she made her way into the memorial, wearing a tight blue gown and a leather jacket.
Campbell, on the other hand, chose a much more flashy outfit – she sported an enormous, white fur coat, which left her long legs on full display, and a jutting head piece which would ensure all eyes were on her.
Wintour, who previously admitted to having a ‘complicated’ relationship with Talley, was seen in a navy skirt and shirt combo, which she kept buttoned tightly. She completed the look with blue tights and white pumps
She clutched tightly to her son, Charles – a 37-year-old doctor who kept it simple in a black suit. They were joined by Wintour’s daughter, Bee Shaffer, 34, who opted for a tight-fitting indigo dress
Other celebrity guests included model Kimora Lee Simmons and Martha Stewart, who dressed casually in black sweatpants, sneakers, and a black jacket.
Wintour’s daughter, Bee, pair her respects to the late fashion iconi
The memorial took place days before the highly-anticipated Met Gala, which is set to take place on Monday, May 2, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan.
The annual event has been hosted by Wintour for nearly three decades, and has been branded by some as the biggest night in fashion; Talley helped plan the star-studded event for many years during his time at Vogue.
In 2020, Talley unleashed a furious tirade against Wintour in his book, The Chiffon Trenches: A Memoir, claiming that their relationship left him with ’emotional and psychological scars.’
‘Anna is not capable of simple human kindness. I would love for her to say something human and sincere,’ he said.
‘I have huge emotional and psychological scars from my relationship with this towering and influential woman, who can sit by the queen of England, on the front row of a fashion show, in her uniform of dark glasses and perfect Louise Brooks clipped coiffure framing her Mona Lisa mystery face.’
After Talley’s death in January, Wintour acknowledged her ‘complicated relationship’ with the esteemed journalist, while paying tribute to her ‘magnificent’ friend.
In the statement, Wintour said the loss of Talley is ‘immeasurable,’ and that she will miss him, despite their ‘complicated past.’
The pair’s long-time friendship came to an abrupt end when she apparently cut him off for being ‘too old, too overweight, too uncool,’ he claimed.
He said the icy editor left him scarred after she made negative remarks about his weight – something he had been struggling with since the death of his grandmother.
In one scorching passage, he wrote: ‘She is immune to anyone other than the powerful and famous people who populate the pages of Vogue … I am no longer of value to her.’
Despite his comments, on the day after his passing, Wintour wrote: ‘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 colorful faxes and emails were a highly anticipated event, something we all looked forward to,’ she said.
‘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.’
Vogue confirmed Talley died of a heart attack on January 18, 2022. But a friend of Talley’s for 45 years, Texas anesthesiologist Dr. Yvonne Cormier told the Houston Chronicle that he had passed away from complications from coronavirus. She added he had underlying health issues related to his weight.
COVID has been known to cause lasting heart conditions in patients, and small blood clots can form in the heart, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Kimora Lee Simmons was spotted in a simple white, buttoned dress, which she paired with many pearl necklaces and a small black clutch
Martha Stewart appeared casual in black sweat pants, sneakers, and a black jacket
Jacobs was accompanied by his husband, Char Defrancesco, for the service. Defrancesco wore a gray suit and kept his hair in braids
Talley is remembered as a driving force in Vogue’s success, serving as the magazine’s long-acclaimed creative director and American editor-at-large through the 1980s and ’90s.
Wintour’s statement didn’t come for nearly 15 hours after Talley’s death, and as time ticked by, she faced increasing pressure and criticism from social media users over her silence.
Model Kloss appeared fresh faced as she attended the memorial on Friday
However, a source close to Wintour told DailyMail.com at the time that she felt she couldn’t rush because she needed time ‘to craft a statement that reflected the loss of someone who had been one of her closest friends and confidants for decades.’
In his book, Talley claimed there was an ‘endless’ list of writers, stylists and models who Wintour had cast onto a ‘frayed and tattered heap during her powerful rule.’
He also accused Wintour of making him feel bad about his weight gain.
‘I’d gained weight in Durham and brought my binge-eating habits back to New York with me,’ he wrote.
‘My clothes fittings made clear to me exactly how big I was getting, and Anna Wintour’s concerned glances did not go unnoticed.’
‘If Anna Wintour wanted me to go to the gym, I’d go to the gym. Plus she offered to pay for it, so I had to take it seriously’
At one point, Talley claimed that Wintour forced him to go to a rehabilitation center in North Carolina after she said his weight ‘was out of control.’
‘It was explained that my weight was out of control and I was being sent off to rehabilitation at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center in my hometown of Durham, North Carolina,’ he continued.
‘A first-class plane ticket had already been purchased for that same day. I didn’t know what to say.
Simmons was joined by her two daughters, Ming Lee Simmons (center) and Aoki Lee Simmons (left)
Now, many of fashion’s biggest names have gathered to honor the beloved Talley – including Stewart, who is pictured entering the memorial
Talley passed away on January 18, 2022, at age 73, at a White Plains, New York, hospital from complications of a heart attack and COVID-19. Guests are seen entering the service at Abyssinian Baptist Church on Friday
‘Quietly, I listened as Anna and Oscar [de la Renta] explained their concerns. It was pretty clear most of the concern was coming from Anna and the rest of them had been pulled into this.’
Talley is remembered as a driving force in Vogue’s success, serving as the magazine’s long-acclaimed creative director and American editor-at-large through the 1980s and ’90s.
His treatment by the woman known as ‘Nuclear Wintour’ was all the more painful to him because of how close they were earlier on.
He had once credited her – along with Diana Vreeland and Andy Warhol – with shaping his career, saying in a May 2020 interview with Vulture: ‘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.’
When they were at their closest, he was one of the few dozen people invited to Wintour’s wedding.
He penned that when he started out in fashion journalism and Wintour was creative director at Vogue, she became a ‘powerful ally’ of his.
But by 2018, the New York Times reported that Talley and Wintour had fallen out, with him saying he was broke and between jobs, after ‘certain friends dropped him’ from their lives – seemingly throwing some shade towards the Vogue editor.
He faced eviction from his 11-room white colonial in White Plains, which George Malkemus, the former head of Manolo Blahnik USA, and Anthony Yurgaitis, his business partner and husband, bought for about $1 million in 2004 with the understanding that Talley would live in it and pay them money each month.
The lease expired in 2014, the Times reported, and it was never resigned, with Malkemus and Yurgaitis claiming Talley owed them more than $515,000.
Talley filed a counterclaim in January 2021, saying he believed the payments were an equity investment intended to result in ownership, and requested that the house be placed in a trust so he can prove his right to ownership.
He railed against Wintour two years before his death, writing in his memoir that the Vogue editor-in-chief dropped him from her inner circle for being ‘old, overweight, and uncool’ and claiming that she never said anything ‘human and sincere.’ The pair is pictured together in 2006
Talley was still living in the secluded home, where he slept on a bed Oscar de la Renta gave him, at the time of his death.
Andre Leon Talley faced eviction before his death
Andre Leon Talley faced eviction from his White Plains home before his death on Tuesday
Fashion icon Andre Leon Talley was embroiled in an eviction lawsuit before he died on Tuesday of a heart attack.
His friends George Malkemus, the former head of Manolo Blahnik USA, and Anthony Yurgaitis, his business partner and husband, bought the 11-room white colonial for about $1 million in 2004 with the understanding that Talley would live in it and pay them money each month.
The lease expired in 2014, and it was never resigned, with Malkemus and Yurgaitis claiming Talley owed them $515,872.
Talley then filed a counterclaim in the New York State Supreme Court in January 2021, saying he believed the payments were an equity investment intended to result in ownership, and requested that the house be placed in a trust so he can prove his right to ownership.
He noted he had already paid $995,558 for a new boiler, to replace the roof and annual landscaping, WWD reports, and had requested that the house be placed in a trust so he can prove his right to ownership.
A GoFundMe was also set up by some of Talley’s fans to raise the money he owed, but it only wound up raising $9,645 before it was shut down in March and the donations were refunded after Talley thanked his fans on social media but said his lawyers would take care of it.
Talley was still living in the secluded home, where he slept on a bed given to him by Oscar de la Renta, when he died on Tuesday as the lawsuit continued.
Despite his comments about Wintour in his 2020 book, Talley apparently reconnected with the magazine editor last year, telling Tamron Hall in May 2021 that he ‘had communications’ with her after he defended her against claims of racism.
‘We’ve been in communication by email, strictly, on birthdays and holidays. She thanked me for that support,’ Talley said.
‘We are friendly, and we care about each other, and in this friendship of over four decades – having this especially in the pandemic, being home and reflecting on this book and what it meant for the fashion world -I realized I’m thinking a lot about Anna Wintour, I even have dreams about Anna Wintour, and they’re not nightmares.
‘She was there in my life in a very important times,’ he went on. ‘My grandmother died in 1980 time and my mentor died in the same year.
‘She was the one that sent me to Paris, to live in Paris for five years and be the Paris editor of American Vogue, so she’s been there, she’s had my back.
‘So in this complicated friendship, in this passive-aggressive friendship, we sail by each other’s port of call, we sometimes miss each other’s port of call, but somehow we navigate back around.
‘And I’m looking forward to the day when Anna Wintour calls me and says, “Come to my house in Bellport [Long Island] for the weekend.”‘
After leaving Vogue, Talley remained prominent in the fashion world, serving as a judge on America’s Next Top Model alongside Tyra Banks, creative director Jay Manuel and runway coach J. Alexander for four seasons.
The larger-than-life fashion figure – his height was 6-foot-6 – also was a stylist for the First Family during Barack Obama’s presidency.
Following news of his death, tributes to the fashion leader flooded social media. He was remembered as ‘incredible’ and ‘groundbreaking,’ with many expressing how deeply he will be missed.
Model Coco Rocha issued her condolences and shared their final conversation together.
‘I’m so sad to hear that my friend, the incredible Andre Leon Talley, has passed away. He was a legendary figure in fashion and a walking encyclopedia of knowledge,’ she wrote.
‘His final departing words to me were, “Nothing matters in this world but family and love, and you have IT.”
‘I hope, in the moments before he passed, he recalled how much he was loved by the extended family he had built over many decades in this industry. He will be missed.’
Actress Milla Jovovich posted to her Instagram page a photo of herself and Talley and wrote: ‘I can’t believe what a force of nature has left us today.
‘Andre Leon Talley was such an incredible artist, but he was also one of the most genuinely wonderful humans I’ve ever met.
‘Always there with the most beautiful smile and open arms, he was so sweet and kind, always so gracious and I imagine the term “fierce” was coined after meeting him.’
In his 2020 memoir, Talley (pictured with Wintour in 2003) wrote that he was left with ‘huge emotional and psychological scars’ after the notoriously icy editor made the remarks about his weight – something he head been struggling with since the death of his grandmother
‘I feel so lucky to have been embraced in his warm glow so many times in my career, because good people are few and far between in this business and you’re much more likely to meet a scowl when going places than his ever present, all encompassing loveliness. I send you so much love Andre. It was an honor and a privilege.’
Talley was born in Washington D.C. in 1948, and was raised by his grandmother in Durham, North Carolina, where she worked as a cleaning lady.
He would find solace from the Jim Crow-era South in the pages of Vogue, but his interest in the fashion world and unusual taste led to some animosity – with a group of Duke University students stoning him as he tried to cross campus to buy a copy of the magazine on one occasion.
Talley moved to New York City in the 1970s following a stint in Rhode Island, where he attended the prestigious Brown University.
The journalist had been awarded a scholarship to the school after earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in French Literature at North Carolina Central University in 1970.
Talley earned a master’s degree in French studies in 1972, with initial plans to become a French teacher – which were later thwarted by his involvement in the NYC art scene where he mingled with the likes of Andy Warhol and Karl Lagerfeld.
He began his career in fashion at the age of 28 after snagging a job as a reporter at Women’s Wear Daily.
After reporting for Women’s Wear Daily, Talley became the protégé of former editor-in-chief of Vogue, Diana Vreeland, who’d helmed the publication from 1962 until 1971.
Following news of his death, tributes to the fashion leader flooded social media
At the time, Vreeland was working as director for the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Talley assisted her in the role.
From there, Talley lent his natural writing talents to publications like Interview Magazine and The New York Times, among others, before stepping into his role at Vogue.
Talley penned three books throughout his life, including his two memoirs, and was the subject of the 2017 documentary The Gospel According to André
He served as Vogue’s Fashion News Director from 1983 to 1987 before becoming Creative Director in 1988.
Talley stayed in the role until 1995 and, after a three-year absence, returned to Vogue in 1995 as editor-at-large. He held the position until his departure from the magazine in 2013.
In 2003, Talley discussed his deep-rooted love for Vogue, which he’d been fascinated with since his teen years, during a sit-down chat with Interview magazine.
‘Vogue was my hobby, and no one in my family ever had a copy of the magazine in the house until I did,’ said the fashion figure.
‘The big experience was on Sundays after church. I’d wash the dishes, walk to the white part of town … to the newsstand that was open on Sundays. That was my big joy.’
Following his departure from Vogue, Talley continued to contribute to the fashion magazine. In 2016, Vogue launched an official podcast, with Wintour naming Talley as the host. It began as a huge success with guests like Tom Ford, Kim Kardashian, Jacobs, and Alexander Wang.
However, the podcast was started around the time that his friendship with Wintour began to sour. In his memoir, Talley griped about being paid just $500 for each episode of the podcast, a sum which he called ‘peanuts.’
‘My car service bills cost that much and more for a round-trip from White Plains to One World Trade Center,’ where the Vogue office is based,’ he wrote.
Suddenly the podcast ceased to exist and there was no explanation from Wintour, who Talley said adopted a ‘sphinx-like silence.’
After leaving Vogue, Talley remained prominent in the fashion world, serving as a judge on America’s Next Top Model alongside Tyra Banks, creative director Jay Manuel and runway coach J. Alexander for four seasons
The larger-than-life fashion figure (pictured in 2020) was also was a stylist for the First Family during Barack Obama’s presidency
Talley alleged Wintour had ‘decimated him with this silent treatment so many times,’ adding it was ‘just the way she resolved any issue.’
Afterwards, Talley hosted his own Sirius XM radio show, called Full Length, which debuted in 2017.
He was joined by celebrity guests and friends to discuss all-things fashion, as well as the biggest moments in pop culture, and to break down the hottest style trends.
Talley penned three books, including his two memoirs, and was the subject of the 2017 documentary The Gospel According to André.
He made a cameo appearance on Fox’s Empire and appeared in the first Sex and the City film, which was released in 2008.
Talley is recognized as a trailblazer in the fashion world – which had little diversity when he made his mark on the industry – and has been considered an icon for the LGBT community.
Although he never explicitly said he was gay, Talley did tell Wendy Williams in 2018: ‘I’m not heterosexual; I’m saying I’m fluid in my sexuality, darling.’
He was also the first black person to hold his position at Vogue, and in a 2020 interview with Essence, he said his ‘blackness’ helped shape his success.
‘I never separated from my blackness,’ he told the news outlet. ‘My blackness is what made me.