Andre Leon Talley: Why?

I just saw “Valentino: The Last Emperor” for the first time, and of course it is delightful. The love story, the pugs, the hair, the dresses, the excess! My favorite moment was Valentino’s emotional proclamation:

“An evening dress that reveals a woman’s ankles when she is walking is the most disgusting thing I have ever seen.”

But when Andre Leon Talley appeared, I wondered anew, What is the point of him?

Watching him in the September movie, I felt he provided comic relief but beyond that, I don’t get it. Is he some kind of mascot for Anna Wintour?

His writing is nothing special, his personal style is grotesque, he fucked up Jennifer Hudson that year at the Oscars, why is he so celebrated? Is it his enthusiasm?His height?

This is a real question.   All day long, I bombard my husband with questions even stupider, and he often responds by saying, “Why? Weren’t you at the meeting where we all learned this?”

So, whoever was at the meeting, please explain.

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31 Responses to “Andre Leon Talley: Why?”

  1. Faux Fuchsia Says:

    Mr Valentino has a Superior Tan and Fab Hair.

    I like Andre, I think he’s funny. You should read his autobiography ALT. I like his enthusiasm. Mrs Vreeland discovered him.

    His decscriptions of his Grandma’s cooking are 11/10.

  2. Helen Says:

    After watching ANTM this last season, excuse me, cycle (yes, I admit to it) I don’t understand it either. I missed the meeting but that’s been pretty clear to me a long time already, and the feeling has only escalated after watching Lagerfeld’s “film” and not “getting it” (gnarlitude’s expression).

  3. Cybill Says:

    I’ve only seen The September Issue and my impression of Mr Leon Talley was not good. He seemed to have a very inflated sense of himself, kept repeating his not funny jokes and expected everyone to be quiet whilst he talked, if I want that shit I can visit my father in law.

  4. miss cavendish Says:

    I’ve been thinking about posting on ALT for a while but can’t find the “vintage” articles I want for reference. In them (dated back to the early 90s?) there’s a discussion of how ALT was a bit of a laughing stock in the fashion world but he’s lately been rehabilitated by Anna, first with his “life with Andre” column, then his book, and now his TV persona.

  5. Stella Mayfair Says:

    some of my thoughts about ALT go like this:
    giant black guy wearing a tent. sometimes it’s a tent with a print. he stores his tennis garb in bespoke vuitton. he hangs around the vogue US offices. is he anna’s pet? hmm? bien chic ou demodè?

    in september issue, i found him mildly amusing. but more importantly, the film was the one last thing that was needed for me to propel the wonderful grace coddington to superstardom. this woman is a genius. in my book, anyway. yay! grace!

  6. Pudfish Says:

    I loved him playing tennis in The September Issue with his designer accessories, I think he said Anna had made him take up tennis, I thought he seemed sweet, but I not only miss meetings, I never even get invited to them in the first place…

  7. Artful M to the J Says:

    I suppose “why not?”

  8. Joy D. Says:

    Yea I don’t get invited either….
    Talley is okay. So I haven’t seen the point to make a fuss. But when has there ever been a time when we the people could change fashion editors?

  9. Jill Says:

    Pure Dreckitude (his word, not mine)…although I would love to see him in person. He seems so imposing in his party tents. If only he would wear a chapeau with a flag on top…perfection!

    I wish you would rant about Vanity Fair’s George Wayne…he is truly cunt award worthy after watching him on Kell on Earth.

  10. Question Says:

    What meeting??

  11. erika Says:

    I always wonder where they get the money. I assume they live partially on gifts and partially on air. He seems to buck this. It takes a lot of food to maintain his “stature” > He has been at this a long time. I remember reading Vogue as a child and he was relevant then. That was long ago…

  12. Alicia Says:

    It’s because he makes up fanciful words, wears velvet peep-toe flats and has a caftan collection that dwarfs that of Sea & Mom’s bug jewelry. He’s a delightful absurdity and I love him dearly for it.

    He’s my Uncle Fresh-dre. =D

  13. Angie Says:

    I didn’t get invited to the meeting either! I have nothing witty to add, but rather I have another question. Why does he wear the robes? There must be some kind of expensive Vogue version of the Big and Tall store!

  14. TheBadKate Says:

    Tokenism? “Why all the fuss about no black models? We have Andre Leon Talley.”

  15. Iheartfashion Says:

    I borrowed his newspaper in an airport lounge in Italy once, and ALT is GIANT.

  16. patni Says:

    I would adore him for being so utterly unique, but it burns me that he is gigantic and wears mumus and yet blabs his column and in the rest of his public speakings about how us ladies should all be skinny sticks and wear what every one else wears.

  17. Katya Says:

    I have no idea why he is even remotely relevant. I remember reading his column in Vogue, back in the day when Vogue was halfway decent, and just being continuously offended at his self-centered drivel and bragging about how loaded he was. He’s just so goddamn full of himself. Although if I managed to become famous for doing absolutely nothing worth of interest, I’d probably be pretty full of myself too. Luckily, most days I forget he exists.

  18. Sister Wolf Says:

    FF – Mrs. Vreeland can be wrong, on occasion.

    Helen – I am so not getting it.

    Cybill – HAhahahaha!

    miss cavendish – Oh god, don’t go and make me feel sorry for him!

    Stella Mayfair – YES, Grace rules.

    Jill – I’M EXCITED! I must find out about this cunt!

    Alicia – You can explain this on Saturday.

    badKate – AHA!

  19. Chippy Coco Says:

    he wears capes because they make him look ‘slimmer’
    http://www.fashionologie.com/Andre-Leon-Talley-Had-Capes-Made-His-ANTM-Appearances-Because-He-Wasnt-Thin-Some-People-Want-Me-8344243
    i find him to be a huge waste of space

  20. Kate1.0 Says:

    Sorry to be a little late on this, but Valentino/Lagerfeld/even Westwood often stray into windbag+ transparent as a windowpane fairytale villain absurdity. Talley’s the lame fairy godmother of said group, and I can’t help but love him for it. Living (larger than living in his case) cartoon characters are fun!

  21. TheShoeGirl Says:

    In any fashion related field, people seem to like the flamboyant gay men over anyone else. Don’t get me wrong- I love them too, but on more than one occasion I’ve seen a less talented gay man chosen over someone far more talented. For example- a makeup artist for a photo shoot, a hairdresser, etc. I think people just assume they are more talented for some reason. Either that or they’re just more fun…

  22. Nikki Says:

    I can’t reach as far as all of you… I’m stuck at square one. I’m tallying (pun intended) a list of the ingredients in his mish-mash of a contrived accent. It’s partially New Orleans twang with a Madonna/Paltrow-esque quasi-Brit nuance, a dash of boarding school & a twist of some island… Queens? What is up with my man Andre’s speech? It’s as looney as his circus schmattas.

  23. JoJo Says:

    ALT is the Emperor with no clothes. Did you see him on ANTM? Tyra put on his fake accent and fawned all over him, while Nigel looked like he wanted to puke. I can’t believe they traded Miss J and Paulina for this idiot. Don’t they know that the unwashed masses who watch that show didn’t go the meeting either? The viewers are screaming, “Who is that Emperor in the tent?”

    Have you noticed how nearly impossible it is to find any bad comments about this fool? He has PR people working night and day to keep negative comments buried so deep the search engines can’t find them.

  24. Aja Says:

    I’m with Alicia on this one.

  25. natalie Says:

    ALT IS A FASHION HISTORIAN , HE HELPS TO AND EDITS MANY DESIGNER COLLECTIONS BEFORE THEY GET TO THE RUNWAY .
    So chances are many of the collections you love ALT had a hand in it . Diana Vreeland is a fashion deity , and she was never wrong , she helped foster blacks into fashion . Lets get real , not everybody who works in fashion looks how the public imagines . Fashion is about personal style and how you want to express yourself ! I love the transparency you get with blogs , twitter and the like , but it’s funny how anybody can give thier oppinions and really believe they are relevant, and right . Pick up a book , Read , Learn as much as you can!

  26. Truth talker Says:

    Whatever lame fool posted this blog better get to a library and read some history. Andre Leon Talley is filled with knowledge and represents decades more than this pithy little blog of yours.

    My advice?
    Stop writing altogether. You are doomed to live the life of a moron.

  27. Winter Says:

    I absolutely agree…I don’t get it either. He has the most atrocious taste, he dressed both Jennifer Hudson & Kimora Lee for red carpet events and they ended up of the worst dressed list…both garments were so ill-fitting…for someone in the know…he certainly didn’t know.

    It baffles me as to how anyone could possibly take him seriously, as for ANTM…huge mistake adding him to the panel…I don’t know if it was just me but I thought that he was rather biased and tended to favour the black contestants, especially the really verbally abusive contestant…her photos were hideous.

    I find it difficult to listen to someone who lacks passion but loves the thought of what he does…Anna & Grace are passionate about what they do and it shows…Andre on the other hand is a joke, just like his clothing choices.

  28. Bev Says:

    I am watching a series of reruns of America’s Top Model. Andre is with Vogue.
    Fine, he’s at the top of his game. But as I’ve always said, you can’t by class.
    This man is such a windbag. He loves listening to his own voice, especially
    when he tweeks his sentances with a smattering of French. I’ve never seen
    or heard anyone go so out of his way to try and impress. Again, he deserves
    a pat on the back for getting to his present position, but knowing that doesn’t
    stop my urge to want to slap him and tell him to turn of the phoniness and
    get real. You don’t save lives, feed the starving, or work toward world peace.
    Sashay in New York, Japan, France but please, get off television or stuff a
    sock in your better than thou, snotty attitude

  29. CHELSEAGUY51 Says:

    ALT IS ALL ABOUT THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES….HOWEVER, WHEN YOU WANT TO BE NOTICED… ONE TENDS TO LEAN TOWARD THE BIRD OF PARADISE SCHOOL OF DRESS/FASHION. WHO COULD IGNORE A VERY TALL, BIG MAN? NOT MANY. EVEN LESS SO, IF HE IS DRESSED LIKE THE LAST EMRESS OF CHINA, JOSEPHINE BAKER AT THE CASINO DE PARIS, OR GLORIA SWANSON ON A QUIET FILM DAY. WEIGHTED DOWN IN FORTY SHADES OF SILK ROBES, POUNDS OF CORAL & JADE NECKLACES, AND VUITTON CHA-CHA PUMP CARRIERS…LIKE SOME REFUGEE FROM A SINKING MISS. GAY AMERICA PAGEANT !!!

    AND WHY IS IT THAT WHOEVER TAILORS HIS SUITS, MAKES HIS SUITS LOOK LIKE THEY BELONG IN RING THREE OF A CIRCUS!!! A RED RUBBER NOSE & RUBBER CHICKEN WOULD ACCESSORIZE HIM PERFECTLY….FOR WORK OR ASCOT!!!

    /I AM A BIG MAN , MY SUITS ARE BYOND IMPECCABLE, WITHIN MY BASIC BUDGET, COMFORTABLE, AND COMPLIMENTARY TO MY FIGURE. SO, WHY IS ALT HAVING HIS SUITS DONE BY A GROUP OF CROSS-EYED SPIDER MOKEYS HATCHED UP ON HORSE TRANQUILIZERS????

    MEOWING IN A TREE IN NYC!

  30. Lucki Says:

    I stumbled across this blog! You are an idiot. ALT is an icon. You are a want to be- dabbling in a multi-business industry. ALT is a legend- trained by one of the best, educated at one of the finest Ivy League schools, and considered to be a maverick. Fool get thee to the nearest library!

  31. Pam Says:

    Love your husband’s response to your questions!

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