An unlikely fashionista except by virtue of his own brilliance, assiduous self-education in fashion history, and raging ambition to be in the middle of it all is the fascinating figure, André Leon Talley. This quintessential tastemaker, a contributor to Women’s Wear Daily, W, and Vogue, is the subject of a touching new documentary directed by Kate Novack, The Gospel According to André .
His journey from a childhood in Jim Crow South Carolina to Brown University then to New York and ultimately, Paris, has Talley working and hobnobbing with Diana Vreeland, Grace Mirabella, Anna Wintour, Fran Leibowitz, Andy Warhol, Gianni Versace, Karl Lagerfeld, John Galliano, Tom Ford, and more. Fabulous footage of all those ’70s and ’80s icons, especially the fascinating Ms. Vreeland. Wonderful footage of Warhol as well.
Film surprises with its understated commentaries about implicit (and explicit) racism Talley encountered in his journey through this uber-white couturier wonderland. A hugely determined and forceful human being, he powered through clearly painful experiences to prevail, but eventually paid the price in a tragic eating disorder.
Complaint: not one word in the film about Talley’s writing career. Also … too-cutesy title. Otherwise, recommended.
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ANDRÉ | opens today May 25