Last night, Fashion Bomb Daily was on the scene for a screening of The Gospel According to André.
The documentary traces iconic Vogue Editor at Large Andre Leon Talley’s life, from his humble beginnings in Durham, North Carolina, to his rise to the top ranks and front rows of high fashion.
To say the film was a joy would be an understatement. ALT’s personality is bombastic and hilariously electric, his knowledge of fashion beyond brilliant, and his confidence and joie de vivre contagious. Any fashionista or fashionisto will revel in the archival footage of Mr. Talley strutting down streets in pinstriped suits interviewing fashion greats like Karl Lagerfeld, Azzedine Alaia, and Yves Saint Laurent. Anyone who loves fashion will salivate over these delectable slices of style history.
After the film, André Leon Talley opened the floor for questions. Below, his thoughts on career regrets, mentorship, and coming up gay and black in an elitist, largely homogeneous industry:
On What Kept him Grounded in a Decadent, Salacious Industry. “Faith. My faith and belief, my religion, my foundation in church. I grew up in a household of faith and love and that was the standard. I’ve had low values and high peaks, but my faith sustained me.”
On Career Regrets. “I wish I had known how to strategize and turn my brand and public persona into a beautiful commercial enterprise. I want to be able to make more money. There are people who have branded themselves. I think it’s important. That’s [the only thing] I would have done differently.”
On coming up as a black gay man working in an isolating landscape. “I think that the sexual orientation was not pronounced, it was not thrown or thrust in the face aggressively. I never really thought of myself as a black gay man in the industry, I thought of myself as a human being in the fashion industry. If someone would approach me and talk about my sexuality, I would say, ‘You know what? I’m quadrosexual.’ I remember once when I was at Women’s Wear Daily, there were some problems, because I was so busy in Paris embracing the greats, Yves Saint Laurent, Hubert de Givenchy, Karl Lagerfeld all of the great people. And one of my editors at Women’s Wear Daily came to me and said, ‘You’ve got the worst reputation in town. You have slept in every designer bed there is!” I didn’t say a word. I left the office and went to the Madeleine, the church where Marlene Dietrich was funeralized. And I sat in the church for a while. I never slept with any designers. I didn’t make my career from screwing designers. I think that was the most racist thing, and I’ll never forget that, and it stuck with me for the rest of my life that that person said that. What I project is originality.”
On what he’s doing to give back to the next generation. “The world has changed since [I met my mentor] Diana Vreeland in 1974. It was a very small world. It’s a bigger world today and I just hope I can mentor through example. Through what I love on my Instagram. If you see me on the street, I’ll talk to you…I hope I’m an inspiration to a lot of people of many colors, many moods, and many sexualities. I hope to continue to inspire.”
On Edward Enninful being named EIC of British Vogue “I sent an email to Edward congratulating him. And he responded, ‘You paved the way.’ And I think that’s a great legacy.”
The Gospel According to André hits theaters May 25th. Find local listings at TheGospelAccordingtoAndre.com.
*See FBD in motion below:
**Read my personal thoughts on this film on TheBombLife.com.
***Thank you to Jeff for the invitation!
**In case you were wondering what I was wearing that elicited André’s overflowing praise…
I rocked a Malene Birger sequined top, Michael Kors sequined pants, and Gucci specs.
Fashion editors and icons Paul Wharton and Emil Wilbekin were also in attendance.