The fashion industry is mourning the loss of Fashion icon and former Vogue Creative Director André Leon Talley, who passed away on Tuesday after battling health issues. He was 73.
His passing was confirmed by his friend Darren Walker, the president of the Ford Foundation.
André Leon Talley was a singular force in an industry that he had to fight to be recognized in,” Mr. Walker said, calling him a “creative genius” and noting his ability to craft a persona for himself out of “a deep academic understanding of fashion and design.
He was a fashion success story, going from the Jim Crow South(he was raised in North Carolina) to the front row at Paris Fashion Week. An advocate for diversity in the fashion industry, he was also a judge on America’s Next Top Model and featured in numerous films.
His memoir The Chiffon Trenches was a New York Times Bestseller and recalls his up-bringing in North Carolina where he was raised by his grandmother, who worked as a cleaning lady at Duke University. He detailed his difficulties growing up within that context; He was a tall Black man with an obsession for luxury fashion and lifestyle.
Considered the “godfather of fashion’ by some, he also served as a style advisor to the Obamas in 2008. He introduced Michelle Obama to Taiwanese-Canadian designer Jason Wu, from whom she wore and slayed many outfits — including her inaugural gown.