In Memoriam: Fallen Stars of 2021
As news of his death emerged on Jan. 18, designer Diane von Furstenberg took to Instagram to pay tribute. She wrote, “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.”
DVF shared, “the world will be less joyful now,” adding, “I have loved you and laughed with you for 45 years…. I will miss your loud screams and your loyal friendship.”
According to TMZ, he died at a hospital in White Plains, New York. His cause of death is unknown.
The former editor-at-large got his master’s degree at Brown University before taking the fashion industry by storm in the 1970s and 80s. In Vogue, he’s quoted as saying, “I love people—it is not the fashion, it is the people in fashion I love.”
In 1988, Talley became the magazine’s creative director, which was a history-making move at the time. “There was no higher accolade she could give me, as the masthead portrayed. Anna Wintour made me the highest-ranking black man in the history of fashion journalism,” he wrote in his book, The Chiffon Trenches.
He has since detailed his interactions with Yves Saint Laurent, Princess Diana, Madonna and more stars back in the day. His 2020 memoir also shed light on his working relationship with Wintour and friendship with the late Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld.
Talley went on to make cameo appearances in Empire and Sex and the City and starred as a judge on America’s Next Top Model.
The chic critic was additionally the focus of the 2018 documentary The Gospel According to André.
Per a synopsis of the film, “André Leon Talley—unmistakable in his regal stature, his fiercely original way with words, and his incomparable historical knowledge of couture—has been a fixture of the fashion world for more than 40 years.”
Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images
It continued, “The viewer is invited back to his childhood in Jim Crow-era North Carolina. His beloved grandmother, Bennie, raised him, schooling him in decorum, religion, and, unsurprisingly, clothes, sparking an early and powerful love for all things fashion This led him to New York City, where he battled—and continues to battle—both racist and homophobic assumptions about black men in the industry.” The film “pulls back the curtain on this towering icon.”
As Talley wrote on Twitter last March, “I’ve experienced many peaks and valleys in my life and remain quite resilient.”
Read more of his life story by clicking here.
Watch a brand new episode of Nightly Pop Monday through Thursday at 11:30 p.m., only on E!