Raised by his grandmother in the deep South, becoming a fashion writer was something unheard of for a young, Black boy in Durham, North Carolina. His journey through the fashion and entertainment world astonished the public and followers internationally.
Andre Leon Talley, 73, died suddenly on January 18th, with selected audiences, expressing their pain from his COVID-related passing.
“There will never be another like him. He represented us all,” said local fashion icon Janet Cornish Davis, a30 year owner and creator of the upscale store, “Janet’s Just For You,” Davis said Talley’s talents emerged as a superstar because he had been supported with love from his family member and the Black community. When Andre Leon Talley spoke, people paid attention. “He was that one person in fashion, that the public loved for so many reasons. Yes, he was with Vogue, but he knew how to pull things together, for any event or occasion. People respected his mind, his vision, and his own culture,” said Davis.
Talley served as an editor and/or a contributor for Ebony, Vogue, Women’s Wear Daily, The New York Times, and W magazine. He earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in French literature and relocated to Paris, France, as his career as an assistant to several editors and publishers. Talley was known for “creating” fashion models and mentoring women of color as their advisor. He also appeared on Tyra Bank’s show “America’s Top Model” as a judge for four years, where he also assisted Ms. Banks with her rise to the top.
“Andre was very unique…Not just anyone can replace his role in the fashion world,” said Mrs. Davis. “The younger guy, Billy Porter could fill some of his shoes, but not all of them,” said Davis. In recent media events, Porter was noted in 2020 and 2021 for wearing a fashion gown at the Oscars and the Grammy awards. Talley dressed more than half of the recipients at major events and on runways internationally. Tyra Banks hailed him as a fashion pioneer, who opened doors for her and many others, in a white-dominated field.
Talley was the author of several books and videos, and more details about his life have already been discussed in his self-memoirs.
“Vogue is not the only one in mourning, because he spoke for all of us. Grandmothers on Sunday mornings in Black churches or on the runway, he could dress them all,” said Davis.
His family released a statement that a memorial service for him will be held sometime in the Spring of 2022.