09 February 2010

André Leon Talley on Telly

André Leon Talley

André Leon Talley, US Vogue's Editor at Large and Anna Wintour's right hand man has already finished filming the fourteenth season of America's Next Top Model.

He's already our obsession du jour, and here's why:

After previously swearing he would never do a reality show he realised a) how successful and fab the show was - so he wouldn't risk embarrassing himself by appearing and b) if the situation wasn't quite a FAMINE OF BEAUTY! It was a high-end-fashion drought, and with that, at least, he could help.

On the subject of the show, Mr Talley revealed that Tyra had approached him as a possible judge even before the first series began, but he declined, not knowing how the show would be received. Now it's a roaring success, Miss J is leaving and Andre believed he could bring something new to proceedings.

And that something turned out to be - ceremonial robes! The bespoke outerwear was designed by Chado Ralph Rucci "I went to Ralph Rucci when I started this thing," Talley said. "We came up with these wonderful designs that are based on 17th-century Edo samurai tunic-coats. And Ralph, who is extraordinarily gifted, understood my desire to have something that would pop on TV."

Yes, other people might have made a simple visit to the hairdressers or dentist before starting such a project but Andre has never been like other people. Those who first encountered his magnificence kitted head to toe in Vuitton on the tennis courts in The September Issue might think of him as a camp curiosity but his fashion credentials are impeccable.

Ever wondered why Anna Wintour relies on him so? It might be...

André Leon Talley

Because he's been in fashion since the 70s - first joining VOGUE in 1983 as fashion news editor.

André Leon Talley

Because he learned from the best - his earliest mentors in the biz were Diana Vreeland - the legendary 60s editor of Vogue and font of fashion inspiration, and Andy Warhol, who gave him his first break working at Interview magazine.

Because he truly lives and breathes luxury - "I use extra bedrooms with no beds as closets. The closets are organized by season -- suits and coats in one place, dressy clothes, black tie clothes -- but not in a clinical sterile system".

Because he's a walking encyclopaedia of fashion - photographer Dustin Pittman who worked with him at WWD and W magazines in the '70s said "I loved working with Andre. He is the Master of Flash. The Wizard of Style. The Dictator of fashion In and Out"  

Because he's a vocabulary pioneer - under pressure to match his lyrical genius in The September Issue - apparently his new catchphrase is 'Dreckditude' (we can't even begin to imagine...) but we can. Not. Wait. To see it!

André Leon Talley

And, on that last point we are in good company. La Wintour has even given her blessing to his latest appointment saying "André is always onto new things on television, and I think his latest adventure sounds like a lot of fun and I look forward to watching him on the program." [The Cut]


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