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André Leon Talley: Chief Mentor

Tre’vell Anderson, 30, a culture and entertainment journalist, said an interview he did with Mr Talley was life-changing. “I was wearing what I thought was the most expensive outfit at the time,” Mx said. Anderson said of their black leggings, heels and poncho. Mr. Talley, seated majestically on a sofa, peppered Mx. Anderson with questions about their lives and careers and the two bonded grow up in the South and be raised by their grandmothers.

Years later, Mr. Talley would include the exchange in his 2020 memoir, ‘The Chiffon Trenches’, writing: “In Tre’Vell, I see my young self. At that point I vividly thought back to Karl Lagerfeld’s interview at the Plaza in 1975. Now I was being asked questions about the documentary and my background.

Mr. Talley’s work will live on thanks in part to the SCAD Museum of Art, which houses the André Leon Talley Lifetime Achievement Award. (Past recipients include Vivienne Westwood, Oscar de la Renta and Karl Lagerfeld.) Mr. Talley visited SCAD frequently, often helping students land jobs and internships.

“He loved the students at SCAD,” SCAD president and founder Paula Wallace said in a statement. “A few years ago, after a screening of ‘The Gospel According to André Leon Talley’ at SCAD Atlanta, he spent hours on stage, taking selfies with at least a hundred excited students, making everyone feels loved and seen.”

Mx. Anderson said Mr Talley’s legacy was “complicated”. “But a lot of us wouldn’t be in the positions we’re in if he hadn’t bitten the bullet,” they said.

Mr. Calmese wishes more people could see the side of Mr. Talley that he saw. He remembers the last time he spent time with Mr. Talley himself: an afternoon spent just sitting on the porch, enjoying cookies and tea. Former model Sandi Bass was there too.

Margarita W. Wilson

The author Margarita W. Wilson