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André Leon Talley’s family release official obituary and announce memorial

By Rachel Douglass

25 Jan 2022

People

Image: TAA Public Relations, André Leon Talley

Following the death of André Leon Talley, the renowned fashion editor’s family has released an official obituary commemorating Talley’s life and career, as well as the announcement of a memorial to be held in his honour.

Aged 73, Talley, a long-time creative director of American Vogue, died in New York January 18 due to covid-19 complications.

In the obituary, the family stated that the editor “propelled himself through life with intelligence, faith and generosity” and “an unabashed belief in the uplifting power and grace of beauty”.

It goes on to speak of his prestigious career, during which he served as an editor of Numéro Russia and worked for the likes of Vanity Fair, Interview and Ebony.

It added: “Mr. Talley was a dominating presence in fashion at a time when the industry was a cordoned off club whose members were European aristocrats, globe-trotting socialites and the monied. He was often the lone Black person at the ball, at the show, at the decision-making table.”

Much of the obituary covers Talley’s upbringing in North Carolina, where he was inspired by his grandmother’s clothing, and goes on to highlight his later studies, during which he explored the role of Blackness in literature and art.

Alongside his work and relationships with those in fashion, the obituary also detailed Talley’s 13-year commitment to Savannah College of Art and Design, which honoured him in 2001 with its first lifetime achievement award in fashion.

It continued: “He enthusiastically supported [the school’s] students, helping them secure both apprenticeships and full-time jobs in fashion and costume design. He donated a trove of his papers to the school with the hope that his past could inspire its students’ future.”

Talley is survived by his cousin Shirley Austin and other relatives, the obituary added, with an official memorial to be announced in the spring, “Talley’s favourite time of year”.

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