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André Leon Talley, fashion legend and former creative director of Vogue, dies at 73

Talley arrived to New York in 1974, quickly surrounding himself and collaborating with iconic figures, such as Andy Warhol and Karl Lagerfeld.

André Leon Talley, fashion icon and former longtime creative director for Vogue, has died at age 73, after battling an unknown illness.

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An inspiration to many designers, writers, and everyone involved in the world of fashion, Talley paved the way for many and made an undeniable impact in the industry, known as a pioneer, arriving to New York in 1974, quickly surrounding himself and collaborating with iconic figures, such as Andy Warhol and Karl Lagerfeld.

Talley joined Vogue in 1983 as the magazine’s fashion news director, finding success as creative director and Anna Wintour’s right-hand. He would later move to Paris in 1995, receiving later in his career the Chevalier de l‘Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government, honoring his contribution to the world of fashion.

Donna Karan New York - Front Row & Backstage - Fall 2011 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week©GettyImages

During one of his interviews in 2017, he opened up about his experience finding his way into the fashion industry; “I worked behind the scenes. I did it in dulcet tones, and I was persistent and tenacious....I always assumed a very quiet role. I didn‘t scream and yell and shout....That was the best strategy, because that was the world I moved in. After all, it was Vogue, darling.”

He would also describe his success in Paris with a message shared on social media; “To be in the august and impeccable body of Chevaliers: Diana Vreeland, Tina Turner, James Baldwin, Rudolph Nureyev and for a black man educated in public schools in Durham, North Carolina, I thank my French teacher, the late Cynthia P. Smith, who wrapped me in French: the language, the culture, style, history and literature.”

Tina Brown's publication party for "The Vanity Fair Diaries"©GettyImages
Diane von Furstenberg and Andre Leon Talley

Many of his friends are now sharing emotional tributes reminiscing on his life and successful career, including designer Diane von Furstenberg who wrote, “We will miss you.”

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