André Leon Talley, the beloved fashion journalist, has sadly died, after suffering from a heart attack, aged 73.

The former creative director of Vogue – who was the first black person to be given the role – had an enormously impressive career spanning four decades, with early roles at publications such as Interview Magazine, Women’s Wear Daily and the New York Times.

His passing was announced today, via a statement shared to his official Instagram account, which read: “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.”


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“Over the past five decades as an international icon he 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.”

Talley’s death – also a former judge on acclaimed contest show America’s Next Top Model, not to mention a best-selling author of memoir The Chiffon Trenches has of course, devastated his devotees from the fashion industry and beyond.


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Honouring Talley, Little Fires Everywhere actor Kerry Washington wrote a message on Instagram that read: “Oh Andre! Heaven is not ready for you darling!!!!!! The whole afterlife is going to be just too fabulous now. Ugh! You blessed us! Sir! You blessed us with your charm and wit and your taste for the exceptional. You will shine so brightly from the heavens that we will know what true stardom looks like. And we will gaze up at you always. In awe. And with gratitude. Rest In Peace.”


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Belgian Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, founder of her namesake brand, wrote: “Good bye 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 [sic].”


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Oscar-winning actor Viola Davis honoured Talley with a short and sweet message that read: ‘RIP Andre Leon Talley. Rest well King

Paris Hilton honoured the veteran by sharing a photo of the pair to her Instagram story.

Instagram: @parishilton

Joining in with the tributes was socialite Olivia Palermo, 35, who wrote on Instagram: ‘An unapologetic force within fashion, the world became a little less fabulous today. Rest in fabulousness André Leon Talley.’


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Echoing Palermo’s sentiment, Paradise Hills actor Milla Jovovich, who shared a photo of the pair, wrote a heartwarming caption that read: ‘I can’t believe what a force of nature has left us today.

“Andre Leon Talley was such an incredible artist, but he was also one of the most genuinely wonderful humans I’ve ever met. Always there with the most beautiful smile and open arms, he was so sweet and kind, always so gracious and I imagine the term “fierce” was coined after meeting him.”

She continued: “I feel so lucky to have been embraced in his warm glow so many times in my career, because good people are few and far between in this business and you’re much more likely to meet a scowl when going places than his ever present, all encompassing loveliness. I send you so much love Andre. It was an honour and a privilege.”


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Talley worked closely with Anna Wintour during his time at Vogue, where he served as fashion news director (from 1983 to 1987) and editor-at-large (from 1988 to 1995), and he used his trailblazing status to champion for diversity on the runway and in the high fashion field of work.

He once told The Guardian: “I scorched the earth with my talent and I let my light shine.”

During his interview with the news outlet, Talley, a close friend of the late Karl Lagerfeld, also said: “My story is a fairytale of excess, and in every fairytale there is evil and darkness, but you overcome it with light. I want every person I come across – the stranger on the street, the church member in the pew next to me – to feel love. I have not been privy to love in my life, but I want them to feel that they have received some love from engaging with me, André Leon Talley.”

This article originally appeared on ELLE UK.

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