Around the anniversary of notorious Vogue writer and editor Andre Leon Talley’s death, Christies hosted an auction of his collection to the public. The event opened up with kind remarks from the Editor-in-chief of The Cut, Lindsey Peoples and a performance by Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church choir. Big names from the industry such as Bevy Smith, Vera Wang, Zac Posen and many more attended this event. Talley’s personal collection includes over 400 lots of items to be put up for auction. Talley’s collection was filled with photos of him and Diana Vreland, Tom Ford kimonos, personalized Andy Warhol artwork and many more was auctioned on February 15. Proceeds will go to the Abyssinian Baptist Church and the Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church in Durham.
A force to be reckoned with, Andre Leon Talley was a legend in the fashion industry. As a queer black man he faced racism and homophobia, but he never let that stop him. Talley went on to have a lucrative career from being the Paris Bureau Chief of Women’s Wear Daily to American Vogue’s Creative Director in 1998. With his newfound title at Vogue, Talley decided to use his power to put models of darker skin complexions as a forefront. For example, he used notorious model Naomi Campbell in a Vanity Fair spread called “Scarlett in the Hood”. Talley didn’t just stop with representing black models, he took it a step further to highlight black designers as well. While at Vogue he created the Style Fax column which shed a light on black designers such as Kevan Hall, Stephen Burrows, and Willi Smith. Overall, Talley’s main goal was to bring diverse representation to the forefront in an industry where they were not highlighted or even spoken of.
With his lavish style and height of over six feet, Talley stood out amongst the crowd. From his work in Paris and New York, he was able to sharpen his sense of fashion. Talley is known for wearing bright colors and lengthy capes. In his book The Chiffon Trenches and documentary The Gospel According to Andre, he speaks of getting his fashion sense from his upbringing and seeing his mother and grandmother dress for church every Sunday. Talley’s impact on the fashion industry will never be forgotten.