Vogue is often referred to as the fashion bible, and editor-at-large Andre Leon Talley is a true believer – someone to whom the “gods” have spoken. This is a man whose first job in New York was with Andy Warhol, whose weight loss was prompted by the intervention of Anna Wintour. Did you see him in The September Issue? If not, here’s a summary: tennis lessons in Louis Vuitton gear, a Parisian shopping excursion, and a giant diamond pinky ring. No wonder so many people ask, “What is it you do, exactly?” Somehow, by keeping good company and training his eye to spot dreck on sight, the 60-year-old North Carolina native became a front row native and Tyra’s right hand man on the judging panel of ANTM.
Of course, what further distinguishes him, apart from the colorful capes and fur coats, is his candor on a variety of issues (however big or small) and a variety of arts (however high or low). Some of our favorite Talley quotes from interviews past:
On Anna Wintour’s skinny preference: Most of the Vogue girls are so thin, tremendously thin, because Miss Anna don't like fat people.
On what he dislikes about the fashion world: The substance is put on the back burner for the perception.
On those capes: So, when I went to America’s Next Top Model, and I wasn’t as thin as some people want me to be, I said to Ralph [Rucci], you’ve got to come up with a fabulous idea, and I wanted a pop of color because it’s TV, and on TV you can’t wear the same thing over and over — you’ve got to have a different outfit every week.
On The Golden Girls: They have a sense of being at home, always wearing different robes and nightgowns. For me it’s one of the greatest shows ever. Helmut Lang loves The Golden Girls, too. He told me he used to rush home to watch it. It’s very uplifting and fresh, it just takes you away from the fashionable world.
On a film that might have seemed strangely familiar: It took me forever to see The Devil
Wears Prada. I waited until I could get it at Target at a discount for $10.
Tomorrow night he returns to ANTM doing what he normally does: having an opinion that counts. His term “dreckitude” caught on like wildfire last cycle, so who knows what words he might invent this time around. Making a catchphrase “happen” isn’t easy, but Talley knows a thing or two about changing things up for the next season.