André Leon Talley

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André Leon Talley
Andre Leon Talley at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival.jpg
Talley at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival
Born (1949-10-16) October 16, 1949 (age 66)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Occupation Editor-at-large Numéro Russia magazine
Website André Leon Talley on Twitter

André Leon Talley (born October 16, 1949) is the former American editor-at-large for Vogue magazine, listed as Contributing Editor in the April 2010 masthead. Talley has been a front-row regular at fashion shows in New York, Paris, London and Milan for more than 25 years.[1] He uses his influence to promote young fashion designers and mentors young talent in other fields.

Early life[edit]

Talley was born October 16, 1949, in Washington, D.C.,[2] as the son of Alma Ruth Davis and William C. Talley, a taxi driver. His parents left him with his grandmother, Bennie Davis, who was a cleaning lady at Duke University, Durham North Carolina. Davis, raised him and, he claims, gave him an "understanding of luxury." His grandfather was a “sharecropper”.

Talley grew up in the Jim Crow Era South where the segregation was clear. He recalls “for a long time my grandmother would not allow white people to come into our house. That was her rule. The only white man who ever came into the house was the coroner.[3]” His love for fashion was cultivated at an early age by his grandmother, Bennie, and his discovery of Vogue magazine, which he first found in the local library.[4]


Talley, after graduating from North Carolina Central University, received his Master's degree in French from Brown University. He has an honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Savannah College of Art and Design, where he serves as a member of the Board of Trustees.


Beginning in 1974, he worked at Andy Warhol's Factory in New York Cityand at Warhol’s Interview magazine for $50 a week. That same year he volunteered for Diana Vreelandat the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He went on to work at Women’s Wear Daily and W, from 1975 through 1980. He also worked for the New York Times and other publications before finally landing at

Vogue (2).

Vogue (1983-1995; 1998-2013) In 1983, Talley came on as the Fashion News Director of the magazine. Five years later, he was name Creative Director (3). He pushed top designers to have more African American models in their shows. He left Vogue and moved to Paris in 1995 to work for a W magazine, and served as contributing editor at Vogue. In 1998, he returned to Vogue, as the editor-at-large until his departure in 2013(2) to pursue another editorial venture.

Numéro Russia (2013-2014 Andre departed from Vogue, after 30 years, for the position of international editor at large at Numéro Russia. He joined the team shortly after the magazine launched in March 2013 and resigned after 12 issues.[5]

Personal life[edit]

In the mid-2000s, an intervention was initiated by Anna Wintour to get Talley to lose weight. As seen on The Oprah Winfrey Show, he eventually lost a great deal of weight, and was eating more healthily.

In 2007, he was ranked 45th in Out magazine's "50 Most Powerful Gay Men and Women in America".[6] In 2008, Talley advised the future First Family on fashion, and introduced Michelle Obama to the Taiwanese Canadian designer Jason Wu, from whom she bought several dresses including her inaugural gown. His most famous pairings of late have been with designers Tracy Reese, Rachel Roy, and singer/actress Jennifer Hudson. He is known as a very close friend of pop diva Mariah Carey, fashion designer Kimora Lee Simmons, and tennis star Venus Williams. As of March 2010, Talley was serving on the judging panel for America's Next Top Model (from Cycle 14 to Cycle 17).[7]

In October 2011, the André Leon Talley Gallery opened in the SCAD Museum of Art SCAD Museum of Art.


  • Sex and the City (2008)
  • Valentino: The Last Emperor (2008)
  • The September Issue (2009)
  • "Say Somethin" (Mariah Carey's 2005 video)

Empire season 2 episode 1

Awards and Memberships[edit]

Talley has been recognized for his important work.

  • 1995: Savannah College of Art and Design, board of trustees
  • 2003: Eugenia Sheppard Award, Council of Fashion Designers of America, 2003, for fashion journalism


André Leon Talley fielding questions at New York book signing, June 10, 2013.

Talley wrote an autobiography entitled A.L.T.: A Memoir, published in 2003.[8]

He also authored A.L.T. 365+, an art monograph designed by art director Sam Shahid, published in 2005. 365 features photos and captions from one year in the life of André Leon Talley.[9]

Also co-wrote MegaStar with Richard Bernstein, a book with an introduction from Paloma Picasso, which has portraits of famous stars.[10]


  1. ^ WAMU: American University Radio (2003-05-14). The Diane Rehm Show (html). WAMU 88.5 FM. Retrieved on 2007-04-24.
  2. ^ Beatty, Paul (2008). Hokum an anthology of African-American humor. New York: Bloomsbury. p. 257. ISBN 1596917164. Retrieved 7 February 2016. 
  3. ^ "The New Man of The People". November 10, 2010. Retrieved November 19, 2015. 
  4. ^ Talley, Andre (2003). Andre Leon Talley Biography. 
  5. ^ Steigrad, Alexandra (March 13, 2014). "André Leon Talley to Exit Numéro Russia". 
  6. ^ Oxfield, Jesse, Idov, Michael (March 4, 2007), ‘Out’ Ranks the Top 50 Gays; Anderson Is No. 2, New York Magazine. Archived June 6, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "'Top Model' to get major makeover with Kimora Lee Simmons as new judge". Daily News (New York). 2009-11-12. 
  8. ^ Talley, André Leon (2003-04-08). A.L.T. A Memoir. Villard. p. 256. ISBN 0-375-50828-7. 
  9. ^ Talley, André Leon (2005-07-19). A.L.T. 365+. powerHouse Books. p. 240. ISBN 1-57687-240-8. 
  10. ^ Bernstein, Richard.; Talley, André Leon. (1984). Megastar. New York: Indigo Books. ISBN 978-0-394-62305-4. 

External links[edit]