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André Leon Talley tributes pour in: ‘Heaven is going to be too fabulous now’

André Leon Talley posing with his arms crossed in an orange robe
Fashion journalist André Leon Talley attends the 2016 opening of the “Black Fashion Designers” exhibit at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.
(Seth Wenig / Associated Press)

A number of entertainment figures and fashion luminaries have taken to social media to memorialize style titan André Leon Talley, who died Tuesday at 73 in New York.

Actors Kerry Washington, Viola Davis, Tracee Ellis Ross and Octavia Spencer, as well as designers Diane von Furstenberg and Bob Mackie, were among the first to honor Talley, a renowned fashion journalist and former creative director for Vogue magazine.

“Oh André! Heaven is going to be too fabulous now,” “Scandal” star Washington tweeted. “You blessed us with your charm, wit and taste for the exceptional. You’ll shine so brightly from the heavens that we’ll know what true stardom looks like. We’ll gaze up at you always. In awe. And with gratitude.”

André Leon Talley, a former editor at large of Vogue who helped pave the way for Black fashion writers, designers and more, has died.

“You were grand and glamorous, complex and marvelous,” “black-ish” star Ross echoed on Instagram. “Capes, caftans and style. A trailblazer. It was so exciting seeing you somewhere. I would run across a room to say hello. I am sad you are gone. Rest In Peace!”

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On Twitter, “Truth Be Told” star Spencer offered her “thoughts and prayers” to Talley’s loved ones, while fellow Oscar winner Davis wrote “Rest well King” on Instagram.

After hailing Talley as “a beacon of style,” bestselling author Roxane Gay criticized Vogue for “just tweeting as normal” in the wake of the fashion idol’s death. Before he served as creative director of Vogue from 1988 to 1995, Talley was the fashion news director of the publication from 1983 to 1987.

“When we talk about how your job will never love you no matter how much you give them, @Vogue saying nothing about André Leon Talley’s passing and just tweeting as normal is a case study,” Gay tweeted. “Foul business.”

Hours later, Vogue eulogized Talley on Twitter as “one of the most recognizable faces and beloved figures in the industry, and beyond” and published a photo gallery chronicling Talley’s style evolution. The magazine also shared a lengthy statement from its executive editor, Anna Wintour, who called Talley “magnificent and erudite and wickedly funny — mercurial, too.”

“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,” Wintour wrote.

“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,” Wintour continued. “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 my family for many, many years, and who we will miss so much.”

Among other fashion personalities who saluted Talley were Mackie, who thanked the former “America’s Next Top Model” judge for his “knowledge and passion for fashion and glamour,” and Von Furstenberg, who cherished his “loud screams” and “loyal friendship.”

“Good bye darling André,” Von Furstenberg wrote on Instagram.

“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.”

Early the morning Edward Enninful was announced as the new editor in chief of British Vogue last April, he received an email applauding his historic appointment as the first black man to lead such a prestigious fashion imprint.

Also on Instagram, Oscar-nominated costume designer Arianne Phillips remembered Talley as a “trailblazer, dapper gentleman, fashion editor, writer, journalist with a singular voice” and speculated that French American fashion columnist Diana Vreeland would be waiting for him “at the pearly gates.”

“Always so kind and funny, his contribution to fashion and culture is one for the history books,” wrote Phillips. “Such sad news to hear of his passing.”


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