'Vogue was my escape hatch!' André Leon Talley on Warhol, Wintour and weight interventions


After a poor childhood, he became editor-at-large at US Vogue. He talks about racism in fashion, why he stopped reading British Vogue, his new documentary – and dressing Melania Trump

When André Leon Talley was fresh out of college, he went to intern at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It was the early 1970s and Diana Vreeland, the legendary former editor at Vogue, was consulting at the Costume Institute and put him to work. “I was very tall and skinny,” says Talley. “I had very good clothes, although very few clothes. I followed the trends, the world of Rive Gauche.” He was an anomaly in the white, upper–class world of high fashion – an African American from a poor background in Durham, North Carolina – but he had something Vreeland and later Anna Wintour would recognise: a belief amounting to fervour in his power to become “the self–made person I am through the mythology of Vogue”.

Talley, who turns 70 this year, sits in the sun room of an exclusive restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, wearing one of his trademark kaftans and breaking off every few moments to converse with the waiter in French. If he is little known beyond the fashion world, that may be about to change with the opening of a documentary next month that tells the story of Talley’s extraordinary trajectory from grandson of sharecroppers to editor-at-large at Vogue; a man who, unlike so many of the pinched and unhappy looking women who guard the gates of high fashion, seems to embody the unfulfilled promise of that world: pure joy.

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Guardian Lifestyle - Sun, 06 May 2018 15:00:23 GMT

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