Fashion icon André Leon Talley has died at the age of 73. The journalist and former Vogue creative director passed away after battling an unknown illness in the hospital, TMZ reported Tuesday. Talley worked closely alongside Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour from 1987 to 1995 after first joining the magazine in 1983 as fashion news director. He left Vogue in 1995 to move to Paris and work for W Magazine.
Talley continued to contribute to Vogue as an editor part-time until he returned full-time as the editor-at-large and author of Style Fax in 1998, where he remained until his final exit from the magazine in 2013. Talley also was an icon in the LGBTQ+ community, served as a judge on America's Next Top Model and was the subject of the documentary The Gospel According to André, released in 2018.
In 2020, he released a memoir following his life titled The Chiffon Trenches, which chronicled everything from his youth in Durham, North Carolina to his meteoric rise to the top of the fashion world and his relationship ups and downs with Wintour. He previously told NPR that his presence might have confused some, but it never bothered him.
"I was smart, and I showed it," he said. "It goes back to when people can't figure out who you are and are afraid of you – and as you boldly, with confidence, show who you are to the world, certain people just have the fear of seeing someone tall and Black suddenly come on the surface." Despite enduring racist behavior throughout his life, Talley said he always kept his head high: "You don't make a loud noise. You don't scream. You don't get up and say, look: Hey, I'm loud. I'm black, and I'm proud. You just do it. And then it's recognized, and somehow it impacts the culture."
Following news of Talley's death, designer Diane von Fürstenberg paid tribute to his legacy on Instagram, writing, "Goodbye darling André. No one saw the world in a more glamorous way than you did. No one was grander and more soulful than you were. The world will be less joyful. I have loved you and laughed with you for 45 years... I miss your loud screams... I love you soooo much."