Date: June 10. Venue: Barnes & Noble (Union Square)
One unforgettable night with Andre Leon Talley as he shared windows into his childhood, his relationship with Diana Veerland, his newest occupation, and fed us teaser-bits on his latest book, Little Black Dress.
At a young age his grandmother Bennie Davis taught him the art of luxury. From fine etiquette to high fashion, Bennie Davis had it all. From age 9 Andre knew he wanted to work for Vogue Magazine, and it was only a matter of time before he would.
A Brown University graduate, he spent much of his on-campus time in the library, reading, learning and grooming himself for his future. After college, he moved to New York City in pursuit of the American Dream. His first job was an impressive jump-start as an Assistant to Pop Icon Andy Warhol for Interview Magazine where he met Karl Lagerfeld and the two became lifelong friends. From Interview Magazine came the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art apprenticeship with the incredibly refined Diana Vreeland. Under Mrs. Vreeland’s direction, Andre became a master curator of high style, able to understand perfection in seams, lines and extraordinary fabric. Mrs. Vreeland often gave narratives of what she wanted on a mannequin, offering a vision, rather than a task, thus supplying Andre with wonderful mental images, such as Cleopatra in her garden with white peacocks, young in age, but still very much an Empress. To Andre, every moment with Mrs. Veerland was a moment he defines as intense and beautiful, from the way she walked to her love of Kabuki-inspired rouge makeup. Even after his apprenticeship, he and Mrs. Veerland remained close friends, from book-readings to phone conversations lasting up to 4-hours on topics like quality fabrics; it was that kind of friendship.
During his occupation at Women’s Wear Daily Andre nabbed his first interview for Yves Saint Laurent, and finally made his way into Vogue Magazine. Andre Leon still holds the Editor at Large title at Vogue (America), while upholding his latest title; the new Editor-in-Chief for Numero Magazine (Russia).
During the event’s Q&A, he was asked, “What was his biggest honor?” It was to interview Michelle Obama for Vogue before the inauguration. To his biggest achievements, he simply responded, “Surviving at the top of the fashion world.”
During our sneak peek inside the Little Black Dress book, the cover photo features a classic Chanel dress once worn by Anna Wintour. Andre Leon extends his Little Black Dress not only to women, but to a groundbreaking Marc Jacobs, who attended the 2012 MET Gala in a Comme des Garçons (Spring 2012) dress with white boxers and Ben Franklin buckle shoes.
The Little Black Dress has evolved to a “Turn it to what you want, no rules” kind of garment. “Rules are no longer important. Target can be elegant,” Andre testifies as he recalls a woman he once saw wearing a Target dress that gave a vintage Christian Dior Parisian vibe. Other clothing stores he credits are Zara and H&M. Along with the freedom of choice in LBD silhouette and quality, Andre specifies, “Fashion should make you feel good about yourself.” He also touched on the revolution of wedding dresses, now blooming with color, especially in black.
The Little Black Dress book; with its carefully chosen mannequins and dresses, and Page 92 featuring a dress inspired by a Marie-Antoinette painting. Illustrations of technology in fashion and textiles with a laser printed dress. It is amazing to witness how each dress with only black in common, as cut and fabric form give an entirely new perspective. A collection of breath-taking numbers from some of the most sought-after names like, Chanel, Calvin Klein, Mariano Fortuny, Michael Kors, Norma Kamali, Oscar De La Renta, Prabal Gurung, Proenza Schouler, Ralph Lauren, Stella McCartney, Tom Ford and Yves Saint Laurent.
Inside are a list of quotes from fashion designers and their vision of the Little Black Dress.
“With every mood shift and proportion change of each collection, the little black dress morphs into a new character, season after season.” –Marc Jacobs
“The little black dress is the essential uniform for every woman’s every occasion. Black sculpts the female body in a way that no other color consistently can and uniquely complements different women and different emotions. The color black is perfectly balanced to be at once bold and striking, while being demure and effortlessly timeless.” –Carly Cushnie & Michelle Ochs
“The little black dress takes us to parties, job interviews, weddings and funerals. We experience all of life’s big events in the little black dress. It can be respectful or empowering, depending on design.” –Norma Kamali
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