André Leon Talley was the Creative Director of Vogue and The Chiffon Trenches is his autobiography.
He started his working life in 1974 at the Met Costume Institute as assistant to Diana Vreeland after winning a scholarship to read French Literature at Brown University which led to a passion for all things French. Working in the fashion scene as one of the few black employees and also as one who had immense struggles with overeating and overweight meant his life has never been easy, although he is an impressive figure at 6’6″ tall and with a penchant for dressing in colourful capes and kaftans.
But, aside from the interest of the story of one who was born in the Jim Crow South and who has made it in the white fashion world, the real reason one would read his book is to get the inside dirt on the many famous people he has encountered, and all too often, fallen out with. Karl Lagerfeld, Andy Warhol, Yves St. Laurent, John Galliano and Anna Wintour are all here.
If you were disappointed with The Devil Wore Prada, this is the book for you. All the inside dirt is here.
Thanks to the CUT here is a small sample.
Karl Lagerfeld travelled with a suitcase full of his favourite bread. When he was on one of his diets, he would chew it then spit it out. It did wonders for his weight loss.
Naomi Campbell travelled with ten different phones for ten different countries in a zip-lock bag in her carry-on luggage, along with a bottle of her favourite Tabasco sauce.
Anna Wintour told him to go to the gym and even offered to pay for it.
If like me you’re not too sure what a Creative Director, does read this book to find out. And especially if you like to know the inside gossip about nasty famous people.