RIP André Leon Talley: His best ever quotes to live by
André Leon Talley is the former long-time creative director of Vogue and a fashion icon in his own right. He has passed away at the age of seventy-five, according to a statement issued on his official Instagram account. As a Black man in a field often dominated by White men and women, Talley was a pioneer in the fashion industry.
Back in 2017, amid an event at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, André described the challenges of promoting diversity, educating on the importance of representation, on the glossy pages of fashion magazines. He told host Tamron Hall, “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.” André Talley’s story began in Washington DC where he was born. In his 2020 memoir, The Chiffon Trenches, he talked about immersing himself in books at the city library in Durham, North Carolina.
“My world became the glossy pages of Vogue, where I could read about Truman Capote’s legendary ball, given at the Plaza, in honor of Katherine Graham,” he wrote. Celebrities aren’t just for entertainment, they’re people like the rest of us. And like anybody, there’s much we can learn from them. We’ve gathered some of André Leon Talley’s most iconic quotes we can all live by. So stay tuned!
“It’s the famine of beauty. The famine of beauty, honey! My eyes are starving for beauty!” The September issue.
“Luxury: it’s not about going and buying the most extraordinary set of luggage or the most extraordinary ring or six-ply cashmere sweater 一 that’s luxury, too 一 but luxury can also be you having with your best friend Karl Lagerfield.” Yale Daily News. The luxury quote reminds us about the simple things in life, the things that aren’t about money by the times we share with loved ones.
“Wearing clothes should be a personal narrative of emotion. I always respond to fashion in an emotional way.” CNN. Perhaps, most of the time, we don’t see our clothes as anything more than things covering our bodies. But it’s true that the way we dress can often give others a glimpse (even if it’s just a small glimpse) of who we are as individuals.
“Clothes are my security blanket, and my outfits are my armor against the world of the chiffon trenches.”
“I love people 一 it is not the fashion, it is the people in fashion I love.” When you love what you do for a living, your entire mindset and thus attitude changes. You see everything differently to the point of not viewing “work” as work. When you love what you do, it’s hard to feel like you’re going to work. From this quote, it seems like André Leon Talley didn’t view his co-workers as co-workers but simply individuals.
“Be kind. Smile. I read this somewhere: ‘If you smile, it means you are in control of your destiny.” We all know life can be a bit unpredictable at times but it’s still true that we have a whole lot more control over where we end up than how we started.
Sometimes, merely changing the way we view things can make all the difference. For instance, we often see stress as harmful, hearing the statement, “stress kills.” But really we just need to change the way we see stress. When your heart is racing right before a big speech, your body is just preparing you for action. When times are tough, the universe is really just making you stronger.
André Leon Talley has definitely secured a place for himself in fashion history. Share your favorite quotes of his in the comments below!