From the Jim Crow south to the halls of Paris and Vogue.
Andre Leon Talley, has seen and survived it all.
After decades of being one of the leading voices in the world of high fashion and luxury brands where trends come and go, Andre Leon Talley, 68, has a staying power than defies the odds.
It’s this presence and power that is explored in the new documentary film “The Gospel According to Andre” produced by director Kate Novack, hitting theaters today.
Whether you follow the fashion world closely or from afar, the image of Andre Leon Talley, standing at 6 foot 6 inches, rocking one of his signature capes, is one you’ve seen because you simply can’t miss him.
The film features fascinating archival footage throughout the decades, from Talley’s early days working with Andy Warhol to serving at Creative News Director of Vogue.
With interviews and cameos from famous faces like Anna Wintour, Whoopi Goldberg, Tamron Hall, Diane Von Firstenberg, and more, you see just how deep Talley’s influence runs.
“He’s the Nelson Mándela of Couture… He’s the Kofi Anan on what you got on,” says award-winning music artist WILL I Am with a laugh in one scene.
But it’s the interviews with Talley’s former teachers and classmates from North Carolina and later Brown University, that perhaps provide the deeper insight into what Andre Leon Talley had to face to get to where he is.
NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 12: Andre Leon Talley attends the Alt 365+ book party during Olympus Fashion Week at Barney’s September 12, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Donald Bowers/Getty Images)
Dropped off by his parents to live with his grandmother in Durham, NC, as a baby, Talley developed his love for fashion after discovering her Vogue magazines and flair for fancy church hats.
The film delves into the racism Talley experienced growing up in the south, and how he used his passion for fashion to pave a way out.
Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the documentary is when “The Gospel of Andre” explores is Talley’s sexuality and the intersection of the conservative African-American Christian community be grew up in.
“He was flamboyant,” says one of his former schoolteachers, matter of factly, as she goes on to praise his uniqueness and confidence.
Talley also opens up in a rare vulnerable moment about romantic love life- or lack there of- as he chased his dream to the top of fashion.
How Talley managed to stay true to his voice, creativity and intelligence in the midst of a society that expected conformity is an inspiration alone— but to make his mark on fashion and still be standing after all these years, is what truly makes him a giant.
Check out “The Gospel According to Andre” trailer below and catch the movie this weekend.