André Leon Talley published his second memoir, The Chiffon Trenches, on May 19. This book has come after his first, A.L.T. from 2003 and goes into more detail about his time spent at Vogue and working along side infamous former editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.
Talley is the former editor-at-large of Vogue and became very close with Wintour as well as designer Karl Lagerfield, who died last February from cancer. The memoir is mostly focused on Talley’s experiences with Wintour, but he also touches on the difficulties, but also the friendship he formed from working with Lagerfield
Talley describes both the good and the bad that came out of his relationship with Wintour. Talley wrote, “We never really spoke about our friendship or worked to develop some long-lasting bond. It was just perfectly understood between us, like a silent language.”
At the time, Wintour had made Talley, “the highest-ranking black man in the history of fashion journalism,” but Talley still shared many stories of the struggles of working with the editor-in-chief.
One episode that Talley touched upon was Wintour taking an interest in Talley’s weight. Of this specific interaction with Wintour, he wrote, “it was explained that my weight was out of control and I was being sent off to rehabilitation at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center in my hometown of Durham, North Carolina. A first-class plane ticket had already been purchased for that same day. I didn’t know what to say.”
In addition to discussion of Wintour, Talley gives insight on his groundbreaking career in fashion dating all the way back to the 1970s. He gives anecdotes with some of the world’s influential people including Andy Warhol, Halston, Yves Saint Laurent,Princess Diana, Madonna and more.
Talley explained why he decided to write a sequel to A.L.T. he said, “that book is something I’m immensely proud of, and if you read that book you’ll truly get a sense of what shaped my personality and my aesthetic eye early on. But I still had to bite my tongue about certain people, for fear of reprisal.”
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