In a heartfelt tribute, “Dancing With the Stars” host Tyra Banks honored her late friend, the fashion icon Andre Leon Talley, who died Tuesday, January 18, 2022, at the age of 73 from an undisclosed illness. The news was first reported by TMZ.
Andre Leon Talley Starred on ‘America’s Next Top Model’ With Tyra Banks for 4 Seasons
From cycle 14 to cycle 17, fashion icon Andre Leon Talley was serving up fierceness on the judges’ panel of “America’s Next Top Model” alongside former supermodel and show host Tyra Banks. He was one of the most insightful and entertaining judges the show ever had and Banks’ emotional tribute to him says it all.
She wrote on Instagram:
I had never experienced such a prolific person serving up a rare mix of fashion ‘fabulousness’ and real down-home southern comfort love until I met @andreltalley.
Being in his presence was so magical. He made me smile, laugh and was a masterful teacher – a generous, genius historian.
Scholar, colleague, effervescent spirit, legend… you are resting now, Dearest André. But your spirit, your ‘je ne sais quoi,’ your VOICE – your laugh, your screams of effervescent, delightful joy… I hear it now. And will forever.
We all will.
Talley was known for his lilting, mellifluous voice. In fact, in one of the many tributes to him on social media, New Yorker writer Helen Rosner mentioned his amazing voice too — and his signature capes.
“In ~2009 I met Andre Leon Talley and was so awestruck all I could think to ask was, ‘Why do so many fashion people still use fax machines?’ He cried ‘Sketches! Sketches!’ and swept away in a floor-length gray opera cape,” wrote Rosner.
Tributes Were Pouring in for the Former Vogue Editor
Talley had a long history as a fashion journalist for Vogue magazine. In 1983, he became Vogue’s first fashion news director, then in 1988 became its first male creative director. In 1998, he became an editor-at-large — and he was large, standing at 6-foot-6 and making an impact throughout the fashion world.
His official Instagram account posted an obituary that reads like a who’s-who of the fashion world:
It said in part:
It is with great sadness we announce the passing of André Leon Talley on January 18, 2022, in New York. Mr. Talley was the larger-than-life, longtime creative director at Vogue during its rise to dominance as the world’s fashion bible. Over the past five decades as an international icon was a close confidant of Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, Paloma Picasso, Diane von Furstenberg, Bethann Hardison, Manolo Blahnik and he had a penchant for discovering, nurturing and celebrating young designers. His byline appeared in Vanity Fair, HG, Interview, Ebony and Women’s Wear Daily and he was the editor of Numero Russia.
Tributes to the late fashion icon came pouring in online. On Instagram, designer Diane von Furstenberg wrote, “Goodbye darling André… no one saw the world in a more elegant and glamorous way than you did… no one was more soulful and grander than you were… the world will be less joyful now. I have loved you and laughed with you for 45 years… I will miss your loud screams and your loyal friendship… I love you soooo much.”
Von Furstenberg also posted a photo of them together at President Obama’s inauguration, writing, “It was so cold, we wore ski clothes. André was proud… one of the many many souvenirs we had together in 45 years… I miss you Andre… so hard to believe I can’t call you anymore… I hope you can hear the crowds crying and missing you.”
On Twitter, author Tressie McMillan Cottom shared an anecdote about Talley, writing, “This is going to sound wild but I once had a conversation with André Leon Talley in the Whole Foods at Duke. He was just grazing the salad bar, holding court. He saw me looking and spoke. He was funny and smart and kind to me without being condescending. I never forgot that.”
Vogue posted its own obituary for Talley and longtime editor-in-chief Anna Wintour said that Talley’s loss is “immeasurable.”
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. … 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.
Fellow “America’s Next Top Model” judge Miss J. Alexander posted to Instagram, “Dear Andre Leon Talley, You introduced me to the world of Haute Couture with my very first fashion show Yves Saint Laurent couture Paris 1986. You gave me and many others a Life Time of Knowledge, Friendship, Stories and will never be forgotten fly high fly large R.I.P. King.”
“Dancing With the Stars” has not yet been renewed for season 31. If it is renewed, it will return in September 2022.