Speed Reads

rest in peace

Former Vogue editor André Leon Talley dies at 73

André Leon Talley, the trailblazing fashion journalist who once served as editor-at-large and creative director of Vogue, died on Tuesday. He was 73.

His death was first reported by TMZ and later confirmed by his literary agent and Air Mail, the digital magazine where Talley was a contributor. The cause of death is not yet known.

Raised in North Carolina by his grandmother, Talley went on to become one of the world's most high-profile Black fashion editors. The influential journalist was known for his wit, over-the-top outfits, and height — he stood tall at nearly 6 feet, 7 inches — as well as his long tenure at Vogue. He started at the magazine in 1983, ultimately becoming its creative director and editor-at-large, the right-hand man to editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.

Talley's writing also appeared in Women's Wear Daily, W, and The New York Times. He served as a judge on America's Next Top Model for four seasons, and was the subject of the 2017 documentary The Gospel According to André. He penned two memoirs — 2003's A.L.T.: A Memoir and 2020's The Chiffon Trenches — with his second book detailing the sexual abuse he suffered as a child, race in the fashion industry, and his relationship with Wintour.

Talley called for more diversity in high fashion, and told Essence that he never shied away from being his authentic self. "I never separated myself from my Blackness," he said. "My Blackness is what made me."