There was a time when the friendship of Andre Leon Talley with Dame Anna Wintour was considered a match made in fashion heaven. She was the formidable British editor-in-chief of Vogue whose presence in & # 39; s front row at catwalk shows designers shook their well-heeled boots.
He was the flamboyant dressed in gay black fashion commentator, journalist and stylist who did not act as her confidante and was never far from her side. For almost three decades, they cut an elegant swathe through the world of haute couture.
When Wintour's mother-of-two married for the second time in 2004, Talley was among only a dozen guests invited to attend the intimate event. After all, nothing lasts forever when it comes to & # 39; the mercurial world of fashion.
As MailOnline exclusively opens this week, a devastating memoir, penned by Talley and to be published later this year, made it clear that the previously close friendship between the couple, who both turned 71 this year, has good and true came apart at the seams.
Journalists Andre Leon Talley and Anna Wintour arrive on Balenciaga show as part of Paris Fashion Week Women's Fashion Spring / Summer 2014
Talley writes in his former boss, writing that & # 39; she is incapable of simple kindness & # 39; and that & # 39; s immune to anyone other than the powerful and famous people who populate the Vogue pages. & # 39;
As if that didn't cut enough, Talley adds that Wintour & # 39; ruthless & # 39; is and adds that & # 39; she has graciously made her best friends people who are the highest in her chosen fields. & # 39;
Most shocking of all is his assertion that they swallowed him as a friend, to & # 39; t he & # 39; too old, overweight, too cool & # 39; was for them. Other big names have also been dragged into this exciting affair.
The son of taxi driver Talley, who styled Melania Trump for her wedding with Donald, claims to have spoken about Wintour to Graydon Carter, the legendary former editor of Vanity Fair, and says he, too, complained about similar treatment, and said, & # 39; One day she treats me like a good friend and colleague, and the next day she treats me like she just handed her keys to an unknown parking lot. & # 39;
There are also anecdotes about Karl Lagerfeld's dramatic weight loss – apparently he was bound to his bed to stop him from eating – and another war of words between Tom Ford and Yves Saint Laurent.
Given such promising venomous delights, it is no surprise that The Chiffon Trenches – a reference to the rare world of high fashion to which he has dedicated his life for more than four decades – is already being talked about in publishing circles as a non- held-barred account of one of & # 39; biggest bust-ups in & # 39; e fashion history.
While Wintour has maintained a dignified silence so far – a source from Condé Nast told yesterday & # 39; the New York Post that she & # 39; extreme hurt & # 39; would be through the book – meanwhile, Talley's talents fall to his defense.
Fashion designer Betsey Johnson, who recently released her own memoir, told the Mail yesterday: & # 39; I love that Andre Anna has called out. Except for The Devil Wears Prada, no one had the balls to say who she really is, because everyone is scared of Anna's power.
Vogue magazine editor Anna Wintour and Andre Leon Tilley attend the 7th at Sixth Fashion show October 30, 1996 in New York City
& # 39; She can make or break someone and I think that's why people worked longer for her than they should, because there & # 39; s no other place to go and they had to join. I feel sorry for poor Andre, who has always had a smile and such flair. He is very courageous – I applaud him. & # 39;
One of Talley's long-time friends, Janis Mayes, a professor of African literature at Syracuse University in New York, also told the Mail this week that she had read the book and agreed that the treatment of Wintour of her friend & # 39; unconscious & # 39; was.
& # 39; I think Andre's reaction is the human reaction to the betrayal of a friendship and the lack of recognition of the work he did at Vogue, & # 39; she said. & # 39; Their was a partnership, but Andre took care of Anna outside of work and so there was surprise and hurt. & # 39;
Andre Leon Talley (L) and Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Anna Wintour backstage at Carolina Herrera's Fashion Show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Spring 2015
But what on earth could have happened that he was so angry with his pen? And more pertinent, why now? For Talley's claims that he & # 39; has tremendous emotional and psychological scars from my relationship with this towering and influential woman & # 39; doesn't sit well with the days when he freely offered the ground to Wintour in her custom beige Manolo Blahniks.
Just two years ago, in an interview to publish a documentary about his life, he still praised her: & # 39; She is faithful, a faithful friend. One sees the glassy sunglasses and untouched dresses. But she makes sense. & # 39;
The story of their friendship – and their enmity – dates back to 1983 when Talley, on his second attempt to get a job at Vogue, became a fashion editor by then editor, Grace Mirabella.
On his way out of the office, he remembers in his memoir, he happened upon Wintour, who then worked as Vogue's creative director. By the time he returned home, she had sent a note to his apartment saying: & # 39; Welcome to Vogue. I look forward to working with you. & # 39;
Anna Wintour and Andre Leon Talley at the 16th annual CFDA Awards Gala at New York State Theater at Lincoln Center in New York City, New York, United States
It was a significant moment, not at least because he & # 39; s always & # 39; was terrible for Wintour when they crossed paths at fashion events. In 1985, she was appointed editor of British Vogue and moved to London, where she & # 39; s nicknamed & # 39; Nuclear Wintour & # 39; earned because of their cool, demanding behavior.
But when she returned to the US in 1987 to take over the helm at Home & Garden magazine, she hired Talley – then worked as a style editor at Vanity Fair.
A year later, when she took the editorial chair at Vogue, she took Talley with her, gave him her old job as creative director and made him, at that time, the highest ranking black man in history of fashion journalism.
Indeed, when Talley Edward Enninful was congratulated on his appointment as the first male and black editor-inchief of British Vogue in his 101-year history, Enninful emailed him to say that & # 39; you paved the road & # 39 ;.
Anna Wintour and Andre Leon Talley attend a fashion show together
It was an extraordinary achievement for the grandson of a sharecropper who did not grow up in racially segregated North Carolina, raised by his grandmother at the age of three months – a cleaner to & # 39; a Duke University.
He credits her, and the days he spent in the church among women in beautiful hats and gloves, attracting his interest in fashion. He became a dedicated Vogue reader after finding a copy of the magazine in his local library.
A schoolteacher also inspired him a love of French, who did not see him winning a scholarship to study for a masters in French literature at & # 39; e Brown University, where he wrote his dissertation dissertation on Baudelaire and Flaubert.
Talley began his career in 1974 and worked for Andy Warhol & # 39; s Interview Magazine, and quickly promoted answering & # 39; phone for $ 50 per week to reports of & # 39; e catwalks in Paris in the late 1970s.
Anna Wintour and Andre Leon Talley Stella McCartney show show for Spring / Summer 2007, Paris Fashion Week
After a brief look at Women & # 39; s Wear Daily, W Magazine and The New York Times, he joined Vogue, where he met Wintour for the first time. Despite their vastly different backgrounds – she is the partially educated daughter of Evening Standard editor Charles Wintour – the couple were almost divorced and were considered fashion freedom.
Talley oversaw photoshoots in & # 39; houses of & # 39; the rich and the famous – he worked on Madonna & # 39; s first Vogue cover at her Los Angeles home in 1989. His 6ft 6in frame, embedded in colorful lush caftans that became his trademark, made him direct recognizable at the leading fashion shows in London, Paris, Milan and New York.
Talley was soon raised as one of & # 39; the most respected and revered men in & # 39; a fashion story. Talley's memoir also provides a fascinating behind-the-scenes insight into Wintour's high-octane reign at Vogue, and recalls that her assistants went to her home each morning with a copy of & # 39; the big book & # 39 ;, a mock-up of & # 39; today's edition of Vogue, such as flowers, gifts & all their clean clothes.
Andre Leon Talley and Anna Wintour attend the CFDA / Vogue Fashion Fund party at the Gramercy Park Hotel
These details were parodied in & # 39; the 2006 film The Devil Wears Prada, starring Meryl Streep, and based on & # 39; e Lauren Weisberger novel, by the same name. It is probably believed that Anna Wintour is the inspiration for the fashionable fashion editor Miranda Priestly.
Wintour's kitchen was spicy, because she never baked it. At the office, meetings were over in eight minutes, and if they went longer than 15, something was seriously wrong.
The first time they had lunch together, he claims that they & # 39; Let's go back to the office & # 39; before the first course arrived. There were count checks for everything and all Wintour clothes – except their underwear – were sent to the dry cleaners.
(L-R) Attending Andre Leon Talley, Melania Trump and Donald Trump & # 39; A.L.T. of Talley. 365+ & # 39; book party at La Grenouille. A.L.T. 365 Party, New York
But it seems that friendships in & # 39; the cruel world of & # 39; e fashion forged are indeed fragile. Talley claims that something changed and that Wintour stopped sending him the best assignments.
He felt that & # 39; & # 39; not handled well & # 39; was & # 39 ;. He stormed into their office and set off in 1995, closing the door on the exit. He moved back to North Carolina in the house he had bought for his beloved grandmother, who died five years earlier.
Alone and unhappy he started eating and stepping on weight. He made a deal with Wintour when her mother died later that year (1995), flew to the United Kingdom to be at her side for the funeral.
Designer Karl Lagerfeld (left) and Andre Leon Talley of Vogue Magazine at the CFDA Fashion Awards 2002 at the New York Public Library in New York City, New York on June 3, 2002
He describes how they & # 39; re in tears & # 39; tears broke and how & # 39; he got up and & # 39; was in my arms & # 39; then they did not run outside. Their reunion saw him return to Vogue as editor in 1998, but Wintour, he says, was worried about his balloon weight.
He has hired a personal trainer and tried to diet by eating low-carbon cabbage, but when that didn't work, he says Anna took drastic action. He remembers attending the Vogue Council Hall in 2005, where the pastor awaited his church, as did the late designer Oscar de la Renta and his wife.
Talley says he was furious when & # 39; Wintour told him his weight was & # 39; out of control & # 39; and offered him a place at the Duke University Diet and Fitness Center in his hometown of Durham, North Carolina, which he accepted.
He lost and returned to 55lb and returned to the center three times for a & # 39; yo-yo battle that & # 39; t I realized long ago that I will never win & # 39 ;. In 2016, Vogue began producing a fashion podcast featuring Talley as the host interviewing the likes of Tom Ford, Kim Kardashian and Marc Jacobs.
Melania Trump (L) and Andre Leon Talley attend the 2005 opening gala at Martha Graham Dance Company at Tavern on the Green
He complains in his book that he & # 39; peanuts & # 39; is paid for his work – only $ 500 per episode, and says the podcast has stopped, without explanation. Wintour, he says, took a & # 39; sphinx-like silence & # 39; and added that they & # 39; me so many times with this silent treatment & # 39; had decimated & # 39; and & # 39; this is just the way they solve every problem & # 39 ;.
In & # 39; Spring 2018, Talley expected his role as an interviewer of & # 39; a red carpet for Vogue to surprise, but when & # 39; he contacted the magazine, he says he was told such things & # 39; under & # 39; were him.
He was replaced by a young, female YouTube star. & # 39; This was clearly a stone cold business decision, & # 39; he writes. & # 39; I have suddenly become too old, overweight, too cool, I imagine, for Anna Wintour. & # 39;
That October – just six months after praising her loyalty in interviews to document the life & # 39; The Gospel According to Andre & # 39; to promote, writing was clearly on the wall when Wintour failed to send him their usual birthday greetings.
Andre Leon Talley and Naomi Campbell go to the Marc Jacobs Autumn 2006 show
When he sent her an email for happy birthday the following month, he received no reply and considered their friendship & # 39; officially over & # 39 ;. & # 39; After decades of loyalty and friendships …
Anna should have had the affection and kindness to call me or send me an email saying, & # 39; Andre, we had a wonderful run with your interviews, but we will try something new. & # 39; & # 39; I would have accepted that …
I understand it; nothing lasts forever. Simple human kindness. No, she is incapable. & # 39; Anna is so powerful and busy; they just put me out of their existence. Now she treats me like a former employee, short greetings, never anything more than perfunctory greetings. & # 39;
His friend, Professor Janis Mayes, is in no doubt that Talley was deeply touched by the way their friendship ended. & # 39; Andre took the high road and laid everything down for the funeral of Anna & # 39; s mother in & # 39; to attend the UK, to be with her at one of the lowest moments of her life, and then behave in that way – it is inevitable. I know he was hurt. & # 39;
Vogue Editor Anna Wintour (r) and Vogue Editor-at-large Leon Andre Talley are featured for the Diane Von Furstenberg Fashion Show at Spring 2009 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week
Interestingly, Talley considers his treatment as part of a broader liberation from the old guard at Vogue. Industry insiders say the days of big magazine budgets and bottomless spending accounts are long – except, it seems, for Wintour himself, they aren't said to be earning nearly $ 2 million a year.
& # 39; We are the dinosaurs of Vogue, an endangered species, & # 39; writes Talley. & # 39; This is ageism at the very least. & # 39; He adds that the publisher of & # 39; e Vogue, Conde Nast & # 39; special in their ability to spit people out … without ceremony, as in & # 39; the court of & # 39; e Sun King … it is not a place of great empathy for humanity. & # 39;
But it is a sharp end indeed to one of & # 39; most legendary partnerships of & # 39; a fashion and one that has left Talley clearly hesitant. & # 39; I wonder if she goes home alone at night, is she miserable? Does she feel alone? & # 39; he writes.
With a devastating bloom of his pen, he adds: & # 39; My hope is that she will find a way to apologize before I die, or if I stay indecent before continuing, she will appear on my bed, with a extended hand wrapped in mine and say: & # 39; I love you. You have no idea how much you meant to me. & # 39;
Anna Wintour and Andre Leon Talley at the 20th Annual American Fashion Awards at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center in New York City 2001
& # 39; No day goes by unless I think of Anna Wintour. & # 39;
Such extraordinary words suggest that Talley is even more inclined to Wintour's approval and longs to be reunited as her friend.
Indeed, seeing the first increasing glimpse of this cruel memoir, it is clear that the man made his name as one of & # 39; s great future trend spotters of & # 39; e fashion will not release the past soon.
. (tagsToTranslate) dailymail (t) tvshowbiz