Fashion Legend André Leon Talley on His Style Icons and the One Thing You Need This Fall

The former Vogue editor-at-large drops his signature fashion bon mots about style icons (like Kim K and Jaden Smith), why you need a damn good pair of shoes (“Manolo Blahnik, of course”) and how Coco Chanel was always right (duh)

Tara MacInnis
Read on for our Andre Leon Talley interview

(Photo: Getty Images)

To celebrate the premiere of his biographical documentary, The Gospel According to André, André Leon Talley came north of the border to the Toronto International Film Festival. “It’s lovely and very warm,” he said of the festival’s host city. “Everybody takes care of you so beautifully.” And on a sunny Saturday morning, we chatted with the iconic man himself about who inspires him and what we should be wearing come fall.

Is there a celebrity who you think is killing it style-wise right now?

Kim Kardashian. She’s wearing a lot of Vivienne Westwood. And, of course, Nicole Kidman. She’s always impeccable, always beautiful, and she’s just so statuesque and stylish. I think Pharrell Williams does great for men, and the most marvelous person is Jaden Smith. He inspired me so this year. I did a fashion show in St. Louis based on him called Fluid Fashion. I think he’s fabulous.

What one piece should every woman own for fall?

A very good pair of shoes. Manolo Blahnik, of course. And I would say that a good investment would be a jewelled evening pump because it’ll go with whatever you wear. And sometimes you can wear it in the day if you know how to do it. But I always say the king of shoes is Mr. Blahnik.

What is the one thing you wish more women would consider when getting dressed in the morning? 

I wish they would look at themselves in the mirror, and as Coco Chanel always said, ‘before you leave the house, remove one thing.’ Less is more and elegance is indeed refusal. But I think women look great these days. I think the world is very democratic and people can wear whatever they want.

Who is your ultimate style icon?

Marlene Dietrich. But also, Grace Jones. They are great style icons. Grace is the new Marlene Dietrich for our times, based on her craft and her attention to style.

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