André Leon Talley stopped by the Manolo Blahnik boutique last night, where he was supposed to meet up with his date, Serena Williams. But when 6:45 p.m. rolled around, Talley’s assistant brought frantic word that Serena Williams was stuck in traffic in Queens. Williams was running late because Venus didn’t close out her U.S. Open match against Kim Clijsters in two sets, so it went to a third, which Clijsters ended up winning. Talley and his assistant made some phone calls to Serena’s car. “Has she changed?” ALT asked. (She was changing in the car.) How would they meet up? (She would call him once she got to the city!) Here’s what ran through the mind of Mr. André Leon Talley while he waited for his date:
Tabloid journalism is bad for fashion. “My feeling is that there is a side of fashion that is very important that is embraced by kings and queens and people who can make a difference. Sometimes those people will get credit where credit is due. It’s not about awards, but people who make a difference in fashion. The world is so fragmented with so many different kinds of influences that are not wholesome. I’m particularly thinking of Housewives shows and shows where people have fisticuffs. I think the world needs to embrace a kind of humanism that fashion should have. Hopefully, a woman feels great when she reads Vogue and finds something that can help her. But what people embrace is the tabloid factor of fashion, and that is boring and bad. Tabloid celebrities, trashing them, trashing designers. Tabloid culture does a great damage. Television shows get their ratings when they tear people down.”
He is on this Earth in order to help fashion. “In my capacity, I think of myself as a person who is here to serve, in the chiffon trenches. I hope I can make a difference. I hope my passion and spirit makes a difference.”
Americans are liberated enough to wear shorts. “We as Americans are liberated enough, and the fabric of our society tends to be more relaxed. I think wash and wear, spin and tumble is a good thing. But I spent my holiday in Europe, where people still hark back to a tradition in Bavaria and Germany, and people do dress even if they are in lederhosen. There are people still wearing ties. I think it’s a choice of whether you want to wear a tie or not. Or a blazer. Or if you want to wear Bermuda shorts, that’s fine too. Young people like to wear shorts and no sockss; that’s all good.”
With that in mind, Talley waited, remaining calm and collected, and chatting up the four other Vogue staffers who were accompanying him. (Well, you didn’t think he’d go alone, did you?) Alas, around 7:20 p.m., he had to move on, jumping into an SUV, leaving behind a glass bowl full of unsigned tennis balls, and much wisdom.