life with andre

The Best André Leon Talley Dish From Vanity Fair

Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images

For Vanity Fair’s September issue, contributing editor Vanessa Grigoriadis (who also contributes to New York) spent three hours with André Leon Talley, eating at Balducci’s, dropping off a few of his formal silk caftans at the dry cleaners, and basically getting more access to Anna Wintour’s right-hand man than anyone ever has (yes, he helps Wintour choose clothes, and he’s seen her in her skivvies). The resulting article is almost as fabulous as his collection of bespoke capes. It’s hard to choose, but here are the most memorable moments:

On his unbelievable cape collection:

Ford made him a Chinese empress coat inspired by one worn by model Liya Kebede in his February show. In 2008, Lagerfeld created a Tiepolo-red haute couture cape for him to accompany Venus Williams to the Met gala, as well as a grayish-blue one to introduce Grace Jones onstage at the annual Red Cross ball in Monte Carlo. From Nicolas Ghesquière he received a bright-royal-blue cape, as well as a few short ruffled Spanish ones in silver, black, and a “fabulous emerald green,” says Talley. “Then I had Manolo make matching emerald-green boots for Christmas.”

On his very fluid sexuality:

“I’ve had very gay experiences, yes, I swear on my grandmother’s grave that I never slept with a single designer in my life. Never, ever desired, never was asked, never was approached, never, ever bought, in my entire career. Never. Not one. Skinny or fat. Never,” he says.  He reveals that he’s been in love with two people, both women, but for the moment remains alone. “I just said to a friend, ‘I can create this magic, so why don’t I have a lover?’” But, he tells Grigoriadis, “if I was a couple, I wouldn’t like to stay in the same bedroom. It is very un-chic in Europe to sleep in the same bedroom.”

On traveling with Carine Roitfeld:

“She came to the airport in wraparound sunglasses from Rick Owens, trench coat, little black sweater, red satin Prada skirt, and beige-and-black Chanel sling-backs like your mother would wear,” he recalled. “Then, on the plane, she changed into Uniqlo leggings, and that was fabulous, too.” In Frankfurt, they exited the plane for an hour and a half for the crew to sweep up. “But Ms. Roitfeld did not get off the plane in those leggings — she put on the whole outfit, the Prada pencil skirt and the Chanel slings,” he said. “I said to her, ‘My God, you are incredible. This is why you are a fashion icon.’