In life, André Leon Talley was a towering determine, well-known for what he knew—and the way he spoke—about tradition and magnificence; for the elegant circles that he ran in; and for the way in which that he carried himself in an business the place few folks regarded like him. Yet as a memorial for the late Vogue editor made clear on Friday, Talley was additionally a humble man, a beneficiant man, and a person of deep and resounding religion. (He was, in any case, a Southerner, introduced up in Durham, North Carolina by his religious and beloved grandmother.)
At the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, the place he was a congregant for many years, legions of Talley’s closest mates, household, and followers gathered each to rejoice his reminiscence and mirror upon his legacy. By turns intensely shifting and completely euphoric, the service made for a suitably particular tribute to a really particular individual. As a press release from Michelle Obama learn, “through his kindness, charm, and electricity, André changed the world.”
The service, overseen by Reverend Calvin O. Butts III from a pulpit flooded with flowers by David Monn, wove collectively readings from scripture, performances by Valerie Simpson and the great Abyssinian Baptist Choir, and heartfelt remarks from Talley’s cousin, Brian Nunn, in addition to Marc Jacobs, Anna Wintour, Carolina Herrera, Naomi Campbell, Bethann Hardison, Paula Wallace, and Diane von Furstenberg, amongst others. (In the viewers, in the meantime, had been the likes of Edward Enninful, Pat McGrath, Grace Coddington, Hamish Bowles, Kerby Jean-Raymond, Zac Posen, Derek Blasberg, Karlie Kloss, Kimora Lee Simmons, and Gayle King, lots of whom may very well be seen dabbing their eyes or clapping alongside in jubilation to rousing renditions of “Come Sunday,” “Down by the Riverside,” “Young Gifted and Black,” and one in every of Talley’s very favourite hymns, “How I Got Over.”)
Nunn remembered Talley as a king of cool. Jacobs described his expressive emails, often written in all-caps “as if to shout with emphasis and urgency what must be heard,” and a madcap journey to Moscow with Talley and Campbell. Wintour spoke affectingly of Talley as a detailed pal and confidant. “Like all of us here today, I felt lucky to consider him part of my family,” she mentioned. “He taught me to speak fearlessly and to see from the heart. I miss him in moments of sadness, but most of all, moments of joy.” Hardison recounted assembly Talley at Andy Warhol’s Factory, the place he turned up carrying what regarded like an extra-large Eagle Scout uniform, and Herrera known as him the “fashion historian of our times.”
Campbell, clad in an exuberant white fur from Schiaparelli, quoted Talley’s assertion that the true that means of luxurious is having the ability “to take control of one’s life, health, and the pursuit of happiness in a way that is joyful,” including that by his requirements, over-the-top was really precisely proper. Earlier within the week, she and von Furstenberg had visited Talley’s household and childhood mates in North Carolina. “It was touching to see how close you still were with all of them. They told us funny stories about you, and they’re all so proud of following the journey of your life,” von Furstenberg mentioned, addressing Talley. “You spoke perfect French, the language you wanted to learn; you traveled to all the places you wanted to see; you met all the people you wanted to meet; and you became intimate friends with the ones you admired most.”
If there was a typical thread in all of these tales—from Talley’s comrades in vogue, in addition to from Reverend Butts and different members of the Abyssinian neighborhood—it was that André Leon Talley was exactly himself at each second, whether or not weighing in on how Bee Carrozzini ought to put on her hair on the Met Gala, or gifting Deacon Alexis Thomas a Fendi briefcase as a result of it was “more becoming” than the plastic bag she sometimes carried her church papers in. To know him was to really feel his heat, his curiosity, and his unsparing consideration to element—and to fête him was to vow to someway cross these virtues on.