Fashion Royalty Assembles in Harlem for André Leon Talley Memorial

Fashion Royalty Assembles in Harlem for André Leon Talley Memorial

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The spirit and memory of André Leon Talley, the groundbreaking creative director, fashion designer, journalist, memoirist, and media personality who died in January at the age of 73, was celebrated on Friday at a memorial at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. A who’s who of the fashion world was in attendance to pay their respects to the renowned Black editor.

The New York Times reported that model Karlie Kloss was beside former Vogue creative director Grace Coddington “in the center of the church.” Bette Midler was also in attendance, looking down from the balcony. Naomi Campbell pulled up to the Gothic Revival house of worship on West 138th St. in an “all-white vintage Rolls-Royce” wearing a feathered outfit that evoked “an angelic swan headed for a gospel brunch,” as the Times put it. Campbell was among those who spoke at the ceremony. 

Anna Wintour, global editorial director of Vogue and global chief content officer of Condé Nast, was in attendance and also spoke, having worked with Talley for decades. (Talley was also previously a style editor for Vanity Fair.)  Julianne Moore, Marc Jacobs, Carolina Herrera, Diane von Furstenberg, Paula Wallace, Derek Blasberg, Zac Posen, Martha Stewart, Gayle King, Kimora Lee Simmons, Sandra Bernhard, Bethann Hardison, Kate Moss, Dario Calmese, Claire Sulmers, and Emil Wilbekin were also said to be in attendance according to People, TMZ, and Page Six.

Valerie Simpson gave a musical tribute, singing “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing” while accompanying herself on piano. Before she performed, she shared how Talley used to come to her lounge Sugar Bar and play the tambourine. 

Pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, the Reverend Calvin O. Butts, spoke of Talley’s character in his eulogy, according to the Times, which noted that Talley was private about his health issues prior to his death. “His transition was between him and God,” the Reverend said.  

Talley’s official Instagram, which lives on, shared these images.

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