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For top designers, though, Talley is perhaps the industry’s most important link to the past.
“André is one of the last great fashion editors who has an incredible sense of fashion history He can see through everything you do to the original reference, predict what was on your inspiration board,” says Tom Ford.
For three hours, during which he barely touched his soup, Talley held forth on topics likely of little or no concern to the shoppers around him. TNT, a German princess, giggling with her over dessert at a Manhattan restaurant.
In our conversations, he talked about the beauty of the 18th-century-style settings in diamond earrings created by JAR (Joel Arthur Rosenthal), the world’s most exclusive jeweler; David Geffen’s “ultimate” chauffeur, outfitted in what looked like a Duke of Windsor suit and sent by Geffen to bring guests to his Beverly Hills estate, formerly owned by Jack Warner; and the extraordinary long black lambskin gloves that Kerry Washington bought in Paris for the Met gala this year. He told her about Singapore, where he had been a few days prior, at the Chanel cruise show.
Talley, 64, recently of magazine (as well as curating fashion shows at such venues as the Mona Bismarck American Center for art and culture, in Paris, and Little Rock’s William J.
Clinton Presidential Library and Museum), is often assumed to be leading a life of glamour amid fresh-cut flowers at the Carlyle hotel or perhaps at a modest Connecticut estate near Oscar de la Renta’s.
But Talley’s voice, with its Pavarotti-like range and unique timbre, rang out at times like a bugle, the kind once used to command soldiers to charge on the battlefield—though Talley tends to use his instrument to tell women what to wear. “She has drawers and drawers of gloves, some in leather, some in cloth.”In fact, he explained, he had just met with Ms.
(Talley bought the sofa at auction, and don’t even think about sitting on it.)Talley spends most of his time on the porch, contemplating the cardinals flying through his garden of tree hydrangeas, white azaleas, and Japanese maples, home to a hooded gnome on a swing, with a squirrel hanging off the bottom. “I love, love, love Balducci’s,” he proclaimed, producing a large container of tomato soup, thick with noodles, and a plastic spoon. You know, I used to eat at a diner near here every day for years, but then Whoopi Goldberg invited me for a holiday.
One of his best friends, George Malkemus III, the C. I asked them if I could please have one of their cakes to bring to her house, and they told me I was too late with my order!
“And Pauline always had gloves.”Talley has had many such extraordinary moments, and he has created more than a few of them.
At all times which means he makes his presence deeply felt by a certain deportment and expression of style.
“Pauline was the ultimate in American style,” says Talley.