André Leon Talley’s property sale treasures reveal a person of impeccable style and nice depth

When André Leon Talley died final January on the age of 73, the jewel-encrusted, caftan-draped big of trend left behind an incredible hoard of designer treasures, artwork and cultural artifacts. They’ve change into his legacy, one which tells us a fantastic deal in regards to the man behind the legend he created.

Earlier this month, Christie’s introduced the sale of curated objects from Talley’s property. Some items are on a three-city tour, from Palm Seashore by trend weeks in Paris and New York, forward of a dwell public sale Feb. 15; additional objects will then be bought on-line. Proceeds can be directed, per Talley’s detailed will, to 2 Black church buildings, Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem and the Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church in Durham, North Carolina.

Items in Talley's estate sale include his monogrammed Louis Vuitton trunks, a caftan designed by Dapper Dan and a sketch by Karl Lagerfeld.

Durham was the place Talley grew up, within the Jim Crow South. His first job was as assistant to the imperious Diana Vreeland in her post-Harper’s Bazaar gig as particular marketing consultant to the Metropolitan Museum of Artwork’s costume division. He turned her religious inheritor, when it comes to grandeur, hauteur and sweeping pronouncements each enthusiastic and withering.

The persona he got here to inhabit was bigger than life. Talley, also known as ALT, the monogrammed initials discovered on his designer baggage, was most carefully related to Vogue journal, the place he was trend information director, then inventive director, amongst different roles, from 1983 by 2013. He additionally labored for Andy Warhol at Interview Journal, and as a correspondent for W. However we most clearly bear in mind Talley on the peak of his front-row reign, circa 2009, when he stole the highlight within the documentary “The September Difficulty.” That movie captured the absurdity, frivolity and cutthroat nature of the style enterprise — at the very least as we imagined it to be. Reality was, trend glossies have been already on the wane and are actually a remnant of what they have been of their glory days.

Your entire trend business is within the means of changing into one thing new, and extra inclusive, however Talley is a personality frozen in that point and place. He was glossier than all of them, the foil of his boss, Anna Wintour, who continues to rule over Vogue. Talley was crushed when she dismissed him from the internal sanctum of the style bible; his 2020 memoir “The Chiffon Trenches” was seen on the time as a weapon of revenge, during which he accused Wintour of disposing of him as a result of, in his phrases, he was previous and fats.

Andr� Leon Talley and Anna Wintour front row at New York Fashion Week, 2008.

The property sale brings Talley’s glamour again into the highlight. Canadian equipment designer George Sully remembers him from “FashionTelevision”, the groundbreaking Jeanne Beker program that launched a lot of the world to trend’s key gamers. “I’m unsure there was ever a time once I wasn’t conscious of André Leon Talley,” says Sully. “On the time, ‘FT’ was the one actual window to world of trend we had entry to as Canadians. For sure, Talley was not laborious to overlook as he was the one Black man navigating and working at such a excessive stage in an business fraught with inequalities at each flip.”

Talley was an inspiration to Sully, who created the group Black Designers of Canada in 2020, which now lists some 300 designers. “There was one thing simple about ALT, and that was his brilliance, expertise and his unmatched wealth of data of trend,” says Sully. “I give him credit score as a result of regardless of all these issues, I do know it will need to have been troublesome as a Black man to navigate an business well-documented for its lack of inclusion.”

As to the snooty perspective, Sully has a sympathetic tackle why he developed that interface with the world. “I believe we’ve all at one time in our lives manifested a larger-than-life persona to protect ourselves from day by day microaggressions, smug remarks and racial digs from colleagues. It is not far-fetched to assume that ALT, like most of us, used a strong dose of vanity like an impenetrable pressure area to maintain out those that wished us hurt.”

For all of the doorways Talley opened, and for all he impressed creatives of color who noticed him on tv, within the pages of {a magazine} or, later, on “America’s Subsequent High Mannequin,” he was of the technology that didn’t discuss a lot about their struggles on the time. He did tackle his personal expertise with racism, and the racism constructed into the style business, in “Chiffon Trenches.” He was a great author and a realized man (he held a grasp’s diploma in French literature from Brown College), however the toxic pen parts in his ebook — catnip for catty trend insiders — took the place of actual retrospection. Maybe he had lived so lengthy in character, decreeing trend pronouncements, that it will have been laborious for him to shift gears to the fashionable confessional type.

Talley with Naomi Campbell at the Met Gala, 2006.

Talley’s extravagant costumes are what’s going to probably draw probably the most consideration — and highest bid costs — within the public sale. Up for grabs are his monogrammed Louis Vuitton trunks, his Manolo Blahnik crocodile night footwear, authentic Andy Warhol and Yves Saint Laurent prints and Karl Lagerfeld sketches, and a gold embroidered bullfighter bolero by Jean-Paul Gaultier. What sticks in Sully’s thoughts is the capes. As Talley’s six-foot-six body expanded, his flawless handmade fits from the ’80s and ’90s have been step by step changed by grand caftans, custom-made by designers from Dapper Dan to Tom Ford. “If there’s something ALT was identified for, it’s his lavish capes,” says Sully. “He typically mentioned, ‘While you’re carrying a cape, you’re going to behave in another way, stand in another way and stroll in another way.’”

Christie’s estimates the sale will end in whole proceeds of $720,000 USD, however iconic items from the estates of icons have been buying and selling at very excessive costs these days. Have a look at Joan Didion’s Celine sun shades, which final yr fetched $27,000 USD underneath the gavel; her beloved orange Le Creuset pots fetched $8,000 USD. Kim Kardashian has been making headlines on the common for getting up well-known folks’s treasures, from Elizabeth Taylor’s bracelet to an amethyst pendant as soon as worn by Diana, Princess of Wales.

Talley loved a popular culture second in 2021 when he turned a spokesperson for Ugg. The unlikely mixture of this famously natty dresser and the final word consolation footwear was deliciously on level for the post-COVID interval. He by no means stopped piling on the glitz, however it’s telling — and shifting — that he selected two church buildings to learn from the proceeds of his fabulous worldly possessions.


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