Elitist vogue trade chewed up André Leon Talley


With André Leon Talley’s passing comes the demise, too, of the illusory world of excessive vogue.

Solely Anna Wintour, Talley’s biggest frenemy, is left. When she goes, so goes the demimonde — and good riddance.

As Tom Ford informed the Monetary Occasions in 2016: “Trend is evil.” Ford was as soon as a casualty, however not less than he made it out alive, now engaged on his personal phrases.

Legendary stylist Isabella Blow, designers Alexander McQueen, L’Wren Scott and Kate Spade — they weren’t so fortunate. All died by suicide, Blow and McQueen significantly brutalized by the trade.

After I heard final night time that Talley had died, simply aged 73, my first thought was his exile from vogue absolutely contributed. No matter his medical issues, he additionally died of a damaged coronary heart. Trend was Talley’s all the pieces. He thought vogue was protected to like. Trend, he thought, would by no means depart him.

How improper he was. “There’ve been some very merciless and racist moments in my life on the earth of vogue,” Talley informed the New York Occasions in 2018. “Incidents when individuals had been dangerous and mean-spirited and terrifying.”

Andre Leon Talley
In 2018, Talley was struggling financially, dealing with eviction and didn’t have many pals to show to.
Getty Photographs for SCAD

But Talley might play that recreation, too, shopping for into this ugly enterprise of lovely individuals, reveling in his personal position as gatekeeper. He was the outsider who turned an insider, as a lot of a creation as anybody else in that realm: talking with an indeterminate accent, issuing diktats and instructions with the authority of a four-star normal, name-dropping and lolling about in a state of unsustainable hedonism.

Sooner or later alongside the way in which, Talley couldn’t discover the road between camp and crudity.

Take this story from Tim Gunn, who as soon as discovered Talley in a inexperienced room, “a translucent barber’s bib [spread] over André and he’s reclining, arms at his sides. He’s being fed grapes and cubes of cheese one after the other, like a chook in a nest.”

To quote a maxim Gunn helped popularize: Someday you’re in . . .

Nonetheless, it was bracing to learn dispatches from Talley in exile, now not in Anna Wintour’s favor, solid out, he stated, for being “too outdated, too chubby, too uncool.”

Andre Leon Talley and Anna Wintour
Anna Wintour and Andre Leon Talley had an odd friendship — some even referred to it as one of many biggest frenemy relationships.

By 2018 he was dwelling alone in White Plains, broke and dealing with eviction, dropped by practically all his fancy pals, shocked at how reptilian and transactional that world was.

However Talley, whether or not he knew it or not, was additionally mourning one thing that now not existed, a kingdom way back democratized by expertise, quick vogue, actuality exhibits and TikTok influencers.

Talley’s last indignation was studying, just a few years in the past, that he’d been fired as Vogue’s official red-carpet Met Gala interviewer, changed by a 20-something YouTube star.

That’s who has the foreign money: Not Vogue, not Wintour, however any child with a ring-light and a following.

“Trend doesn’t maintain its individuals,” Talley stated in 2018. He hoped to keep away from the destiny of one-time YSL muse Loulou de la Falaise, who died broke and deserted by the trade.

“I’m very afraid of that,” he stated.

He was proper to be. Trend has misplaced a real unique, and for higher or worse, we’ll by no means see his like once more.

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