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    Remembering Fashion-Industry Icon André Leon Talley (1948–2022)

    When André Leon Talley attended an Oscar de la Renta: The Retrospective event at the de Young in San Francisco six years ago, all eyes were on this towering in all respects fashion icon. It was not just because of his elegant attire, but also because of his commanding presence and inherent style that went far beyond the surface level.

    The 6’6″ Talley in heels and flowing garb inherently was an eye-catcher, and an ear-catcher too given his strong, confident voice that carried across any room. He seemed to be as gay as can be, but was famously quiet about his private life. As he said on The Wendy Williams Show in 2018: “No, I’m not heterosexual; I’m saying I’m fluid in my sexuality, darling.”

    He was regal, talented, and, as said of Sidney Poitier in this issue of the San Francisco Bay Times, came into his own without being defined by others. Few can make that claim in the highly competitive and often trend-centric fashion industry.

    An author, stylist, and creative director, Talley was best known for serving as editor-at-large of Vogue magazine, where he started as news director before becoming the publication’s first Black male creative director, and then editor. He helped countless well-known figures, including former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, serving as their stylist during their time in the White House.

    News of his death on January 18 due to complications from COVID-19 and a heart attack rippled across the many networks he was a part of: fashion, politics, literature, the world of entertainment, and more. As Michelle Obama wrote: “André Leon Talley was a one-of-a-kind presence who changed the face of fashion and beauty for a generation of girls just like me. He will be missed, but I know his legacy will continue inspiring people for years to come.”

    To learn more about the remarkable Talley, read The Chiffon Trenches: A Memoir, which with honesty and candor tells his riveting story in his own words.

    Published on January 27, 2022