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Anna Wintour Admits 'Complicated Past' With André Leon Talley In Farewell Statement After His Scathing Memoir

Anna Wintour and Andre Leon Talley in 2013

Anna Wintour has broken her silence on André Leon Talley’s death, and she’s acknowledging their “complicated relationship” at Vogue.

As we reported, the mag’s former editor-at-large passed away on Tuesday at the age of 63. While Vogue reported he died of a heart attack, a friend of Talley’s for 45 years, Texas anesthesiologist Dr. Yvonne Cormier, told the Houston Chronicle that he had passed away from complications from coronavirus, noting that he had underlying health issues.

André was known for being a key part in Vogue’s success during his tenure as the glossy’s creative director and American editor-at-large through the 1980s and ’90s. More recently, however, he was known for his memoir, in which he got candid about his strained relationship with the famous editor-in-chief, claiming Wintour froze him out for being “too old, too overweight, too uncool.”

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Naturally, Twitter users were watching Vogue’s every move on social media after the news of Talley’s death broke. The Twitterstorm really started around 9 a.m. on Wednesday: while the mag had published the obituary, and tributes from other famous friends had trickled in, Wintour still hadn’t made a peep.

But according to a source close to the fashion icon, she was merely taking the time “to craft a statement that reflected the loss of someone who had been one of her closest friends and confidants for decades.” That statement was released 15 hours after the news of Talley’s death broke; in it, Anna said she will miss her “colleague and friend” despite their “complicated past.”

She wrote:

“The loss of André is felt by so many of us today: the designers he enthusiastically cheered on every season, and who loved him for it; the generations he inspired to work in the industry, seeing a figure who broke boundaries while never forgetting where he started from; those who knew fashion, and Vogue, simply because of him; and, not forgetting, the multitude of colleagues over the years who were consistently buoyed by every new discovery of André’s, which he would discuss loudly, and volubly—no one could make people more excited about the most seemingly insignificant fashion details than him. Even his stream of colorful faxes and emails were a highly anticipated event, something we all looked forward to.”

Calling the loss of Talley “immeasurable,” she continued:

“Yet it’s the loss of André as my colleague and friend that I think of now; it’s immeasurable. He was magnificent and erudite and wickedly funny—mercurial, too. Like many decades-long relationships, there were complicated moments, but all I want to remember today, all I care about, is the brilliant and compassionate man who was a generous and loving friend to me and to my family for many, many years, and who we will all miss so much.”

After the news broke on Tuesday evening, the fashion magazine posted a prescheduled tweet about using sage to clear “bad vibes.” It was soon deleted from the site, but that was enough to spark outrage.

Fans fumed:

“If Anna Wintour says anything about Andre Leon Talley now, she will look like a horrible person. But if she doesn’t say anything, she will look like an even more horrible person.”

“This is for Anna Wintour, you ugly scarecrow looking racist piece of s**t. Why you take Andre off the schedule heaux?”

“#AnnaWintour your ice persona it quite boring in 2022 … the least you can do is honor this man who worked at American Vogue.”

Meanwhile, author Roxane Gay tweeted:

“When we talk about how your job will never love you no matter how much you give them, Vogue saying nothing about Andre Leon Talley’s passing and just tweeting as normal is a case study. Foul business.”

In his 2020 memoir, The Chiffon Trenches, Talley claimed he was left with “huge emotional and psychological scars” from his friendship with the infamously icy editor after she made comments about his weight. He also alleged there was an “endless” list of writers, stylists, and models who she has cast onto a “frayed and tattered heap during her powerful rule,” adding:

“She is immune to anyone other than the powerful and famous people who populate the pages of Vogue. She has mercilessly made her best friends people who are the highest in their chosen fields. Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Mr. and Mrs. George Clooney are, to her, friends. I am no longer of value to her.”

In 2018, the New York Times reported that Talley was between jobs and said he was broke, after “certain friends have dropped me” from their lives. He faced eviction from his 11-room white colonial in White Plains, which banker George Malkemus bought for about $1 million in 2004 with the understanding that Talley would live in it and pay him money each month.

After the lease expired in 2014, Malkemus claimed Talley owed him more than $515,000. The fashion expert filed a counterclaim in January 2021, alleging he thought the payments were an equity investment that would lead to ownership, and requested that the house be placed in a trust so he can prove his right to ownership.

He was still living in the home, where he slept on a bed Oscar de la Renta gave to him, at the time of his death.

What do U think about Anna’s response?

[Image via MEGA/WENN]

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Jan 19, 2022 14:15pm PDT