“The late seventies, when André Leon Talley came into his own, is the period when designers like Yves Saint Laurent and Halston produced the clothes that Talley covered at the beginning of his career at WWD, clothes often described as glamorous. It is the period referred to in the clothes being produced now by designers like Marc Jacobs and Anna Sui. ‘It was a time when I could take Diana Vreeland and Lee Radziwill to a LaBelle concert at the Beacon and it wouldn’t look like I was about to mug them,” Talley says.
“Daniela Morera, a correspondent for Italian Vogue, has a different recollection. ‘André was privileged because he was a close friend of Mrs. Vreeland’s,’ she says. ‘Black people were as segregated in the industry as they are now… André enjoyed a lot of attention from whites because he was ambitious and amusing. He says it wasn’t bad because he didn’t know how bad it was for other blacks in the business. He was successful because he wasn’t a threat. He’ll never be an editor-in-chief… No matter that André’s been the greatest crossover act in the industry for quite some time. Like forever.’ ” — Hilton Als, 1994*
Talley—Anna Wintour’s legendary right hand man—has been captured on film in Kate Novack’s new documentary THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ANDRÉ, presented this week by Film Independent at LACMA. The director and her subject will be on hand for a conversation after the screening.
Thursday, May 10, at 7:30.
LACMA, Bing Theater
5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles.
* Hilton Als, “The Only One,” The New Yorker, November 7, 1994, 110. (Reprinted in Als’ White Girls, 2013.)
Top: André Leon Talley and Yves Saint Laurent. Image credit: Getty.
Middle: Talley and Diana Ross dancing at Studio 54, circa 1979. Photograph by Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images.
Below: Diana Vreeland and André Leon Talley working at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The model is Marlene Dietrich in the show Romantic and Glamorous Hollywood Design, 1974. Photograph by Bill Cunningham.