By: DeoVonte “Deo” Means
It’s been a little over a month since the fashion and world of high first learned that Andre Leon Talley succumb from complications of a heart attack and COVID-19 at a hospital in White Plains, New York. Imposingly towering and clad in Savile Row suits, his pronouncements were so loud that they could be heard in the back row, “Faaabulous darling!” he would bellow. Coruscating with Dalma, Mounia , Sao Schlumberger, Anne Bass, Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis, Isabella Blow, Grace Mirabella, Paloma, Manalo Blahnik, Karl Lagerfeld, Lou de la Falsie, Andy Warhol, Valentino, Lady Amanda Harlech, Halston, Betty Cartou, Yves St. Laurent, Tina Chow, Diane Von Furstenberg and Anna Wintour; he boldly presided over both European and American couture and bossily counselled designers on their choices. His every entrance was an event, and when he left, he took the oxygen with him.
André was highly opinionated, and loudly declamatory. His responses to the collections could be perverse, and his was often the dissenting opinion. His eye saw everything and his memory for the nuances of fashion’s changes through the decades was scalpel sharp.. When fashion movies came and went (Pret a Porter, The Devil Wears …, well, you know), they couldn’t begin to compete with the real thing. No script writer could have invented André, but later, even as a titan of the fashion world, front row at the Parisian haute couture, André could not escape prejudice, but his very existence led the way, inspiring generations by example. His haute streetwear and the great sweeping opera coats and caftans and djellabas—robes for a deity.
There were vicissitudes in his final years, but by the turn of 2022 he was in a good place. Kate Novack’s 2018 documentary The Gospel According to André brought a sense of his private worlds to the big screen, and propelled interest in the second volume of his autobiography, a New York Times bestseller. He succumbed to a heart attack on the 18th of January, and the fashion world lost an entirely original and compelling man, someone who applauded its history, celebrated its present, and shaped its future.