August 14, 2013

Andre Leon Talley: Don’t Call Him Gay, But He’s Had “Gay Experiences”

Andre Leon Talley

Andre Leon Talley, the larger than life fashion guru, is featured in the latest issue of Vanity Fair where he talks about his long run in the fashion game.

The former Vogue contributing editor, who now oversees the Russian fashion glossy, Numero Russia, gets candid about his personal life, professional dealings and racism in the fashion world.

Among the revelations that the Durham, North Carolina-bred former “America’s Next Top Model” judge made was that he does not identify as a gay man, though he’s had “very gay experiences.”

Read some of the highlights from the Vanity Fair interview.

On being single:

“I just said to a friend, ‘I can create this magic, so why don’t I have a lover?’” But he adds…..“if I was a couple, I wouldn’t like to stay in the same bedroom. It is very un-chic in Europe to sleep in the same bedroom.”

On fashion advice for women:

Andre Leon Talley & Tyra Banks

“The world has become too casual, and people have become lazy. There was a time when people went on the airplane with gloves. It’s about gloves, O.K., darling? It’s about gloves. Listen.”

On if he identified himself as a gay man while growing up:

“No, no, no. I was just into my magazines and the drawings. I had a very strict upbringing, almost puritanical. I lived there all the way through college. I was in my grandmother’s house, and I respected that!”

On dating in the industry:

“I’ve had very gay experiences, yes, I swear on my grandmother’s grave that I never slept with a single designer in my life. Never, ever desired, never was asked, never was approached, never, ever bought, in my entire career. Never. Not one. Skinny or fat. Never.”

On his friendship with Anna Wintour:

“I wouldn’t have stayed at Vogue as long as I did without Anna being there. She was my biggest ally. There could not have been another way.”

On his weight:

“I do not weigh myself. I do not want to get on that scale. I only know what I weigh from the way my clothes fit. The people who are really close to me and know me have stopped bringing my weight up. They probably discuss it behind my back, some of them, in the fashion world. I have never felt less of a person because of my dramatic weight gain. Up or down, my confidence and sense of self never wavered.”

On whether race has affected his career:

“People stereotype you. What person of color do you know who’s in a position like that, be it a man or a woman, unless it’s Essence magazine?”

The September 2013 issue of Vanity Fair is on newsstands now.


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