An Ode to Andre Leon Talley
"Luxury or Nothing."
“Luxury or nothing.” There is so much to say about Andre Leon Talley and nothing said will ever be enough. No one person, not even ALT himself, could be counted on to weave all of his glories and hitches into a complete, fitting and accurate garment. We will have to depend on one another to create this last ensemble. So, this morning, I just want to celebrate how he moved through the world. “Wearing clothes should be a personal narrative of emotion.”
Elegantly assertive. Silk caftans and well-paired Uggs. Simultaneously overwhelming and charming. At ease in Milan but also Durham. Fierce fabulous decadent and BLACK as his grandmother in heaven.
It’s easy, I think, to dismiss ways of being as cultural contributions, but I believe that people are culture. How they live and move and myth-make and endure and drape and pose and want and want and want and observe and comment and declare. That’s culture. Andre Leon Talley’s sense of self was culture. And, I argue, it was culture at its best. One look at him and you wanted more for yourself. Another glance and you understood that “more” could look like anything as long as it was what you wanted for yourself.
“There is a famine of beauty.” And look at us now, trying to make something worthy from memory’s hem. Look at us now, draped in knowing just how good, how rich, how BLACK we had it with him. Onward. There’s got to be more out here somewhere.