André Leon Talley is no rookie to the fashion industry—his career at Vogue began in 1983 when he was hired by Anna Wintour as the magazine's fashion news director—and yet the flamboyant, larger-than-life editor seems to be having a major moment of late. Chalk it up to his recent role as one very opinionated judge on America's Next Top Model, or his entertaining scenes in last year's hit documentary "The September Issue," either way: Mr. ALT is a force to be reckoned with.
And yet, Talley, arguably one of the most powerful black men in fashion right now, is a study in contrasts. He of the leather shorts, the fur coats (and hats!) and the flowery French phrases also happens to live in White Plains, where he dines regularly at the City Limits Diner, a recent profile in the NY Post reveals. Tomorrow the gregarious southern-raised 61-year old will preside over the bi-annual Manolo Blahnik sample sale at the Warwick Hotel as its master of ceremonies. There he'll be prescribing style advice and opinions (whether you like it or not), and of course, he'll be on hand to chat with fans. But first, some things to know:
1. André Leon Talley (or ALT, as he's increasingly referred to), grew up in North Carolina, where he was raised by his grandmother (his grandfather was a sharecropper), before heading off to Brown for college, and later the bright lights of New York where he picked up gigs working for WWD, Andy Warhol, and eventually Vogue.
3. For those of you who don't pay attention to mastheads, ALT, once Vogue's editor-at-large, recently took on the lesser title of contributing editor, for which he fulfills the same responsibilities for the magazine, but has greater flexibility as his own agent. In this era of television personalities posing as staff members for magazines without really doing any of the required work (ahem, Olivia Palermo and Elle), that's thoroughly refreshing.
4. Only adding to his surprising character, one of ALT's closest confidantes is a 50-year-old painter who lives in Winnetka, Illinois, whom he met four years ago at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.
5. ALT shops at Target.