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Stars gather to pay tribute to late style icon Andre Leon Talley – including Anna Wintour

Many stars have gathered to pay tribute to the late style icon André Leon Talley.

A memorial was held for the fashion journalist on April 29 at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York, and numerous celebrities came to pay their respects, including Karlie Kloss, Naomi Campbell, and even Anna Wintour – despite the fact that their once-close friendship turned sour before his death.

Talley, who worked as Vogue’s editor-at-large from 1998 to 2013, railed against Wintour two years before his death, writing in his memoir that the Vogue editor-in-chief dropped him from her inner circle for being ‘old, overweight, and uncool’ and claiming that she never said anything ‘human and sincere’ during their many years working together at the company.

Talley passed away on January 18, 2022, at age 73, at a White Plains, New York, hospital from complications of a heart attack and COVID-19

Now, many of fashion’s biggest names have gathered to honor the beloved Talley – including Wintour, despite their rocky relationship near the end of his life.

Many stars have gathered to pay tribute to the late style icon André Leon Talley. A memorial was held for the fashion journalist on April 29 at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York, and numerous celebrities came to pay their respects, including Anna Wintour (who was accompanied by her son Charles Shaffer)

Karlie Kloss was spotted entering the memorial with longtime friend and journalist Derek Blasberg. She donned black flowing pants, a feathered black top and a matching blazer. She also wore dark sunglasses as she walked into the Harlem church

Karlie Kloss was spotted entering the memorial with longtime friend and journalist Derek Blasberg. She donned black flowing pants, a feathered black top and a matching blazer. She also wore dark sunglasses as she walked into the Harlem church

Naomi Campbell, on the other hand, chose a much more flashy outfit - she sported an enormous, white fur coat, which left her long legs on full display, and and a jutting head piece which would ensure all eyes were on her

Naomi Campbell, on the other hand, chose a much more flashy outfit – she sported an enormous, white fur coat, which left her long legs on full display, and and a jutting head piece which would ensure all eyes were on her

Marc Jacobs wore a burgundy suit and kept his hair neatly slicked back; he carried a mysterious white folder

Marc Jacobs wore a burgundy suit and kept his hair neatly slicked back; he carried a mysterious white folder

Gayle King was photographed looking somber as she made her way into the memorial, wearing a tight blue down and a leather jacket

Gayle King was photographed looking somber as she made her way into the memorial, wearing a tight blue down and a leather jacket

Kloss was spotted entering the memorial with longtime friend and journalist Derek Blasberg. 

She donned black flowing pants, a feathered top and a matching blazer. She also wore dark sunglasses as she walked into the Harlem church.

Marc Jacobs wore a burgundy suit and kept his hair neatly slicked back; he carried a mysterious white folder. 

Wintour was seen in a navy skirt and shirt combo, which she kept buttoned tightly. She completed the look with blue tights and white pumps. 

She clutched tightly to her son, Charles Shaffer – a 37-year-old doctor who kept it simple in a black suit. They were joined by Wintour’s daughter, Bee Shaffer, 34, who opted for a tight-fitting indigo dress.

Gayle King was photographed looking somber as she made her way into the memorial, wearing a tight blue gown and a leather jacket. 

Campbell, on the other hand, chose a much more flashy outfit – she sported an enormous, white fur coat, which left her long legs on full display, and a jutting head piece which would ensure all eyes were on her.

Wintour, who previously admitted to having a 'complicated' relationship with Talley, was seen in a navy skirt and shirt combo, which she kept buttoned tightly. She completed the look with blue tights and white pumps

Wintour, who previously admitted to having a ‘complicated’ relationship with Talley, was seen in a navy skirt and shirt combo, which she kept buttoned tightly. She completed the look with blue tights and white pumps

She clutched tightly to her son, Charles - a 37-year-old doctor who kept it simple in a black suit. They were joined by Wintour's daughter, Bee Shaffer, 34, who opted for a tight-fitting indigo dress

She clutched tightly to her son, Charles – a 37-year-old doctor who kept it simple in a black suit. They were joined by Wintour’s daughter, Bee Shaffer, 34, who opted for a tight-fitting indigo dress

Other celebrity guests included model Kimora Lee Simmons and Martha Stewart, who dressed casually in black sweat pants, sneakers, and a black jacket.

Wintour's daughter, Bee, pair her respects to the late fashion iconi

Wintour’s daughter, Bee, pair her respects to the late fashion iconi

The memorial took place as the highly-anticipated Met Gala approaches; the annual event has been hosted by Wintour for nearly 30 years, and has been branded by some as the biggest night in fashion.

It is set to take place on Monday, May 2, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan; Talley helped plan the star-studded event for many years during his time at Vogue.

In 2020, Talley unleashed a furious tirade against Wintour in his book,  The Chiffon Trenches: A Memoir, claiming that their relationship left him with ’emotional and psychological scars.’

‘Anna is not capable of simple human kindness. I would love for her to say something human and sincere,’ he said.

‘I have huge emotional and psychological scars from my relationship with this towering and influential woman, who can sit by the queen of England, on the front row of a fashion show, in her uniform of dark glasses and perfect Louise Brooks clipped coiffure framing her Mona Lisa mystery face.’ 

After Talley’s death in January, Wintour acknowledged her ‘complicated relationship’ with the former Vogue editor-at-large, while paying tribute to her ‘magnificent’ friend. 

In the statement, Wintour said the loss of Talley is ‘immeasurable,’ and that she will miss him despite their ‘complicated past.’ 

The pair’s long-time friendship came to an abrupt end when she apparently cut him off for being ‘too old, too overweight, too uncool,’ he claimed.

In his 2020 memoir, he wrote that he was left with ‘huge emotional and psychological scars’ after the notoriously icy editor made the remarks about his weight – something he head been struggling with since the death of his grandmother.

In one scorching passage, he wrote: ‘She is immune to anyone other than the powerful and famous people who populate the pages of Vogue …  I am no longer of value to her.’

Despite his comments, on the day after his passing, Wintour wrote: ‘The loss of André is felt by so many of us today: the designers he enthusiastically cheered on every season, and who loved him for it; the generations he inspired to work in the industry, seeing a figure who broke boundaries while never forgetting where he started from; those who knew fashion, and Vogue, simply because of him; and, not forgetting, the multitude of colleagues over the years who were consistently buoyed by every new discovery of André’s, which he would discuss loudly, and volubly – no one could make people more excited about the most seemingly insignificant fashion details than him. 

‘Even his stream of colorful faxes and emails were a highly anticipated event, something we all looked forward to,’ she said. 

‘Yet it’s the loss of André as my colleague and friend that I think of now; it’s immeasurable. 

‘He was magnificent and erudite and wickedly funny – mercurial, too. Like many decades-long relationships, there were complicated moments, but all I want to remember today, all I care about, is the brilliant and compassionate man who was a generous and loving friend to me and to my family for many, many years, and who we will all miss so much.’ 

Vogue confirmed Talley died of a heart attack on at the time. But a friend of Talley’s for 45 years, Texas anesthesiologist Dr. Yvonne Cormier told the Houston Chronicle that he had passed away from complications from coronavirus. She added he had underlying health issues related to his weight.

COVID has been known to cause lasting heart conditions in patients, and small blood clots can form in the heart, according to Johns Hopkins University.  

Kimora Lee Simmons was spotted in a simple white, buttoned dress, which she paired with many pearl necklaces and a small black clutch

Kimora Lee Simmons was spotted in a simple white, buttoned dress, which she paired with many pearl necklaces and a small black clutch

Martha Stewart appeared casual in black sweat pants, sneakers, and a black jacket

Martha Stewart appeared casual in black sweat pants, sneakers, and a black jacket

Talley is remembered as a driving force in Vogue’s success, serving as the magazine’s long-acclaimed creative director and American editor-at-large through the 1980s and ’90s.

Wintour’s statement took nearly 15 hours after Talley’s death to come, and as the hours ticked by, she increasing pressure and criticism over her silence. 

Model Kloss appeared fresh faced as she attended the memorial on Friday

Model Kloss appeared fresh faced as she attended the memorial on Friday

However, a source close to Wintour told DailyMail.com at the time that she felt she couldn’t rush because she needed time ‘to craft a statement that reflected the loss of someone who had been one of her closest friends and confidants for decades.’ 

In his book, Talley claimed there was an ‘endless’ list of writers, stylists and models who Wintour had cast onto a ‘frayed and tattered heap during her powerful rule.’ 

He also accused Wintour of making him feel bad about gaining weight.

‘I’d gained weight in Durham and brought my binge-eating habits back to New York with me,’ he wrote.

‘My clothes fittings made clear to me exactly how big I was getting, and Anna Wintour’s concerned glances did not go unnoticed.’

‘If Anna Wintour wanted me to go to the gym, I’d go to the gym. Plus she offered to pay for it, so I had to take it seriously’

At one point, Talley claimed that Wintour forced him to go to a rehabilitation center in North Carolina after she said his weight ‘was out of control.’

‘It was explained that my weight was out of control and I was being sent off to rehabilitation at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center in my hometown of Durham, North Carolina,’ he continued.  

‘A first-class plane ticket had already been purchased for that same day. I didn’t know what to say.

Simmons was accompanied by her two daughters, Ming Lee Simmons and Aoki Lee Simmons

Simmons was accompanied by her two daughters, Ming Lee Simmons and Aoki Lee Simmons

Now, many of fashion's biggest names have gathered to honor the beloved Talley - including Stewart, who is pictured entering the memorial

Now, many of fashion’s biggest names have gathered to honor the beloved Talley – including Stewart, who is pictured entering the memorial

Talley passed away on January 18, 2022, at age 73, at a White Plains, New York, hospital from complications of a heart attack and COVID-19. Guests are seen entering the service at Abyssinian Baptist Church on Friday

Talley passed away on January 18, 2022, at age 73, at a White Plains, New York, hospital from complications of a heart attack and COVID-19. Guests are seen entering the service at Abyssinian Baptist Church on Friday

‘Quietly, I listened as Anna and Oscar [de la Renta] explained their concerns. It was pretty clear most of the concern was coming from Anna and the rest of them had been pulled into this.’ 

His treatment by the woman known as ‘Nuclear Wintour’ was all the more painful to him because of how close they were earlier on.

He had once credited her – along with Diana Vreeland and Andy Warhol – with shaping his career, saying in a May 2020 interview with Vulture: ‘I will not criticize her.

‘My book is an epistle to everyone that I love. It’s a love letter to Anna Wintour. I love her deeply.’

When they were at their closest, he was one of the few dozen people invited to her wedding.

He penned that when he started out in fashion journalism and Wintour was creative director at Vogue she became a ‘powerful ally’ of his. 

But by 2018, the New York Times reported that Talley said he was broke and between jobs, after ‘certain friends dropped him’ from their lives. 

He faced eviction from his 11-room white colonial in White Plains, which George Malkemus, the former head of Manolo Blahnik USA, and Anthony Yurgaitis, his business partner and husband, bought for about $1 million in 2004 with the understanding that Talley would live in it and pay them money each month.

The lease expired in 2014, the Times reported, and it was never resigned, with Malkemus and Yurgaitis claiming Talley owed them more than $515,000.

Talley filed a counterclaim in January 2021, saying he believed the payments were an equity investment intended to result in ownership, and requested that the house be placed in a trust so he can prove his right to ownership.

Talley was still living in the secluded home, where he slept on a bed Oscar de la Renta gave him, at the time of his death.

Despite his comments about Wintour in his 2020 book, Talley apparently reconnected with the magazine editor last year, telling Tamron Hall in May 2021 that he ‘had communications’ with her after he defended her against claims of racism.  

‘We’ve been in communication by email, strictly, on birthdays and holidays. She thanked me for that support,’ Talley said.

‘We are friendly, and we care about each other, and in this friendship of over four decades – having this especially in the pandemic, being home and reflecting on this book and what it meant for the fashion world -I realized I’m thinking a lot about Anna Wintour, I even have dreams about Anna Wintour, and they’re not nightmares. 

‘She was there in my life in a very important times,’ he went on. ‘My grandmother died in 1980 time and my mentor died in the same year. 

‘She was the one that sent me to Paris, to live in Paris for five years and be the Paris editor of American Vogue, so she’s been there, she’s had my back. 

‘So in this complicated friendship, in this passive-aggressive friendship, we sail by each other’s port of call, we sometimes miss each other’s port of call, but somehow we navigate back around.

‘And I’m looking forward to the day when Anna Wintour calls me and says, “Come to my house in Bellport [Long Island] for the weekend.”‘ 

Andre Leon Talley , seen here in an interview with Tamron Hall in May, passed away from a heart attack caused by complications from COVID-19 on Tuesday night

Andre Leon Talley , seen here in an interview with Tamron Hall in May, passed away from a heart attack caused by complications from COVID-19 on Tuesday night

He worked alongside Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour for several years, developing a close friendship with the notoriously icy editor, until she froze him for being 'too old, too overweight, too uncool'. Wintour has now described their friendship as 'complicated,' but said in an obituary on Wednesday she will miss her longtime friend

He worked alongside Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour for several years, developing a close friendship with the notoriously icy editor, until she froze him for being ‘too old, too overweight, too uncool’. Wintour has now described their friendship as ‘complicated,’ but said in an obituary on Wednesday she will miss her longtime friend

Twitter users claimed the fashion magazine tweeted about getting rid of 'bad vibes' when news of Talley's death broke

Twitter users claimed the fashion magazine tweeted about getting rid of ‘bad vibes’ when news of Talley’s death broke

Wintour and Talley's longtime friendship seemed to come to an end three years ago when she cut him out from her life

Wintour and Talley’s longtime friendship seemed to come to an end three years ago when she cut him out from her life 

Talley had apparently reconnected with Wintour, seen together here in 2014, in recent months

Talley had apparently reconnected with Wintour, seen together here in 2014, in recent months

An obituary was posted to the Vogue website at around 9am on Wednesday

An obituary was posted to the Vogue website at around 9am on Wednesday

Andre Leon Talley faced eviction before his death

Andre Leon Talley faced eviction from his White Plains home before his death on Tuesday

Andre Leon Talley faced eviction from his White Plains home before his death on Tuesday

Fashion icon Andre Leon Talley was embroiled in an eviction lawsuit before he died on Tuesday of a heart attack.

His friends George Malkemus, the former head of Manolo Blahnik USA, and Anthony Yurgaitis, his business partner and husband, bought the 11-room white colonial for about $1 million in 2004 with the understanding that Talley would live in it and pay them money each month.

The lease expired in 2014, and it was never resigned, with  Malkemus and Yurgaitis claiming Talley owed them $515,872.

Talley then filed a counterclaim in the New York State Supreme Court in January 2021, saying he believed the payments were an equity investment intended to result in ownership, and requested that the house be placed in a trust so he can prove his right to ownership.

He noted he had already paid $995,558 for a new boiler, to replace the roof and annual landscaping, WWD reports, and had requested that the house be placed in a trust so he can prove his right to ownership.

A GoFundMe was also set up by some of Talley’s fans to raise the money he owed, but it only wound up raising $9,645 before it was shut down in March and the donations were refunded after Talley thanked his fans on social media but said his lawyers would take care of it.

Talley was still living in the secluded home, where he slept on a bed given to him by Oscar de la Renta, when he died on Tuesday as the lawsuit continued.

Fans took to social media to slam Anna Wintour for her treatment of Talley following his death

Fans took to social media to slam Anna Wintour for her treatment of Talley following his death

Talley (pictured alongside Wintour in 1996) began his career in fashion at the age of 28 after snagging a job as a reporter at Women's Wear Daily

Talley (pictured alongside Wintour in 1996) began his career in fashion at the age of 28 after snagging a job as a reporter at Women’s Wear Daily

RIP: Fashion icon Andre Leon Talley has passed away at the age of 73; seen in 2020

Fashion figure: He was the long-acclaimed former creative director and American editor-at-large of Vogue through the 80s and 90s; Andre seen with Anna Wintour in 1999

Fashion figure: He was the long-acclaimed former creative director and American editor-at-large of Vogue through the 80s and 90s; Andre seen with Anna Wintour in 1999

Andre Talley (left) and Kristen McMenamy (right) attend New York City fashion week in the mid 1990s

Andre Talley (left) and Kristen McMenamy (right) attend New York City fashion week in the mid 1990s

Talley has remained prominent in the fashion world, serving as a judge on America’s Next Top Model alongside Tyra Banks, creative director Jay Manuel and runway coach J. Alexander for four seasons. 

The larger-than-life fashion figure – his height was 6-foot-6 – also was a stylist for the First Family during Barack Obama’s presidency. 

Following news of his death, tributes to the fashion leader flooded social media. He was remembered as ‘incredible’ and ‘groundbreaking,’ with many expressing how deeply he will be missed. 

Model Coco Rocha issued her condolences and shared their final conversation together.

‘I’m so sad to hear that my friend, the incredible Andre Leon Talley, has passed away. He was a legendary figure in fashion and a walking encyclopedia of knowledge,’ she wrote.

‘His final departing words to me were “Nothing matters in this world but family and love, and you have IT”. I hope, in the moments before he passed, he recalled how much he was loved by the extended family he had built over many decades in this industry. He will be missed.’ 

Actress Milla Jovovich posted to her Instagram page a photo of herself and Talley and wrote: ‘I can’t believe what a force of nature has left us today. Andre Leon Talley was such an incredible artist, but he was also one of the most genuinely wonderful humans I’ve ever met. Always there with the most beautiful smile and open arms, he was so sweet and kind, always so gracious and I imagine the term “fierce” was coined after meeting him,’

‘I feel so lucky to have been embraced in his warm glow so many times in my career, because good people are few and far between in this business and you’re much more likely to meet a scowl when going places than his ever present, all encompassing loveliness. I send you so much love Andre. It was an honor and a privilege.’ 

Following news of his death, tributes to the fashion leader have flooded social media. He is remembered as 'incredible' and 'groundbreaking'

Following news of his death, tributes to the fashion leader have flooded social media. He is remembered as ‘incredible’ and ‘groundbreaking’

Talley was born in Washington D.C. in 1948, and was raised by his grandmother in Durham, North Carolina, where she worked as a cleaning lady. He would find solace from the Jim Crow-era South in the pages of Vogue, but his unusual taste led to some animosity, with some Duke University students stoning him as he tried to cross campus to buy a copy of the magazine.

Talley moved to New York City in the 1970s following a stint in Rhode Island, where he attended the prestigious Brown University.

He began his career in fashion at the age of 28 after snagging a job as a reporter at Women’s Wear Daily. 

The journalist had been awarded a scholarship to the school after earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in French Literature at North Carolina Central University in 1970.

Talley earned a master’s degree in French studies in 1972, with initial plans to become a French teacher – which were later thwarted by his involvement in the NYC art scene where he mingled with the likes of Andy Warhol and Karl Lagerfeld.

Talley penned three books, including two memoirs. He detailed his fallout with Wintour in his book The Chiffon Trenches: A Memoir (pictured)

Talley penned three books, including two memoirs. He detailed his fallout with Wintour in his book The Chiffon Trenches: A Memoir (pictured)

After reporting for Women’s Wear Daily, Talley became the protégé of former editor-in-chief of Vogue, Diana Vreeland, who’d helmed the publication from 1962 until 1971.

At the time, Vreeland was working as director for the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Talley assisted her in the role which saw her stage countless exhibitions.

From there, Talley lent his natural writing talents to publications like Interview magazine and The New York Times, among others before stepping into his role at Vogue. 

He served as Vogue’s Fashion News Director from 1983 to 1987 before becoming Creative Director in 1988.

Talley stayed in the role until 1995 and, after a three-year absence, returned to Vogue in 1995 as editor-at-large. He held the position until his departure from the magazine in 2013. 

In 2003, Talley discussed his deep-rooted love for Vogue, which he’d been fascinated with since his teen years during a sit-down chat with Interview magazine.

‘Vogue was my hobby, and no one in my family ever had a copy of the magazine in the house until I did,’ said the fashion figure, who grew up in Durham, North Carolina, under the care of his grandmother.

‘The big experience was on Sundays after church. I’d wash the dishes, walk to the white part of town … to the newsstand that was open on Sundays. That was my big joy.’ 

Talley began his career in fashion at the age of 28 after snagging a job as a reporter at Women's Wear Daily

Talley began his career in fashion at the age of 28 after snagging a job as a reporter at Women’s Wear Daily

Talley (left) also served as a judge on America's Next Top Model for four seasons

Talley (left) also served as a judge on America’s Next Top Model for four seasons

Following his departure from Vogue, Talley continued to contribute to the fashion magazine.

In 2016, Vogue launched an official podcast, with Wintour naming Talley the host. It began as a huge success with guests like Tom Ford, Kim Kardashian, Marc Jacobs and Alexander Wang.

However, the podcast was started around the time his friendship with Wintour began to sour. In his memoir, Talley griped about being paid just $500 for each episode of the podcast, a sum which he called ‘peanuts’.

‘My car service bills cost that much and more for a round-trip from White Plains to One World Trade Center,’ where the Vogue office is based,’ he wrote.

Suddenly the podcast ceased to exist and there was no explanation from Wintour, who adopted a ‘sphinx-like silence’. Talley alleged Wintour had ‘decimated me with this silent treatment so many times’ and ‘this is just the way she resolves any issue’. 

Afterwards, Talley hosted his own Sirius XM radio show, called Full Length, which debuted in 2017.

He was joined by celebrity guests and friends to discuss all-things fashion, the biggest moments in pop culture and break down the hottest style trends.

When announcing the show Talley said: ‘My SiriusXM radio show will, of course, be fabulous. We will cover it all—from global style influences and trends, to iconic pop culture moments that wowed us.’

‘Full Length will showcase the connection we have with fashion.’ 

Talley is pictured with Karl Lagerfeld and Tommy Hilfiger

Talley is pictured with Karl Lagerfeld and Tommy Hilfiger

Andre Leon Talley and Janelle Monae are pictured together at the Ralph Lauren celebration of Fashion's Night Out on September 10, 2010 in New York City

Andre Leon Talley and Janelle Monae are pictured together at the Ralph Lauren celebration of Fashion’s Night Out on September 10, 2010 in New York City

Talley penned three books, including his two memoirs, and was the subject of the 2017 documentary The Gospel According to André.

He made a cameo appearance on Fox’s Empire and appeared in the first Sex and the City film, which was released in 2008.   

Talley is recognized as a trailblazer in the fashion world – which had little diversity when he made his mark on the industry – and has been considered an icon for the LGBT community.

Although he never explicitly said he was gay, Talley did tell Wendy Williams in 2018: ‘I’m not heterosexual; I’m saying I’m fluid in my sexuality, darling.’   

He was also the first black person to hold his position at Vogue and in a 2020 interview with Essence said his ‘blackness’ helped shape his success.

‘I never separated from my blackness,’ he told the news outlet. ‘My blackness is what made me.


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