From the pages of Vogue to the runways of Paris, this deeply revealing memoir by a legendary style icon captures the fashion world from the inside out, in its most glamorous and most cutthroat moments. “The Chiffon Trenches honestly and candidly captures fifty sublime years of fashion.”—Manolo Blahnik During André Leon Talley’s first magazine job, alongside Andy Warhol at Interview, a fateful meeting with Karl Lagerfeld began a decades-long friendship with the enigmatic, often caustic designer. Propelled into the upper echelons by his knowledge and adoration of fashion, André moved to Paris as bureau chief of John Fairchild’s Women’s Wear Daily, befriending fashion's most important designers (Halston, Yves Saint Laurent, Oscar de la Renta). But as André made friends, he also made enemies. A racially tinged encounter with a member of the house of Yves Saint Laurent sent him back to New York and into the offices of Vogue under Grace Mirabella. There, he eventually became creative director, developing an unlikely but intimate friendship with Anna Wintour. As she rose to the top of Vogue’s masthead, André also ascended, and soon became the most influential man in fashion. The Chiffon Trenches offers a candid look at the who’s who of the last fifty years of fashion. At once ruthless and empathetic, this engaging memoir tells with raw honesty the story of how André not only survived the brutal style landscape but thrived—despite racism, illicit rumors, and all the other challenges of this notoriously cutthroat industry—to become one of the most renowned voices and faces in fashion. Woven throughout the book are also André’s own personal struggles that have impacted him over the decades, along with intimate stories of those he has turned to for inspiration (Diana Vreeland, Diane von Fürstenberg, Lee Radziwill, to name a few), and of course his Southern roots and ongoing faith, which have guided him since childhood. The result is a highly compelling read that captures the essence of a world few of us will ever have real access to, but one that we all want to know oh so much more about.
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André Leon Talley’s fantastic memoir, The Chiffon Trenches, is a riveting, enthralling, and heartbreaking read, tracing the incredible arc of his life from growing up in the Jim Crow South to what it took for him to come to New York and, thanks to his vast talent and work ethic, gain the respect and recognition of the legends of his day, including Diana Vreeland, Andy Warhol, Karl Lagerfeld, and Anna Wintour. André has lived life at the epicenter of the most glamourous worlds of fashion in both Paris and New York; and now this book is one more chapter in his amazing legacy.
Wendy Goodman, design editor of New York