Anna Wintour Mourns 'Loving Friend' Andre Leon Talley After His Death at Age 73: 'It's Immeasurable'

The fashion trailblazer and former Vogue creative director died on Tuesday

Andre Leon Talley - Life in Pictures
Photo: Eugene Gologursky/WireImage

Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour is paying tribute to her longtime colleague and "wickedly funny" close friend André Leon Talley.

Talley, who died on Tuesday at age 73, was a trailblazing fashion journalist, having worked with Wintour, 72, for years at the magazine. In an obituary published on Vogue's website, Wintour remembered the editor's legacy and impact on fashion.

"The loss of André is felt by so many of us today: the designers he enthusiastically cheered on every season, and who loved him for it; the generations he inspired to work in the industry, seeing a figure who broke boundaries while never forgetting where he started from; those who knew fashion, and Vogue, simply because of him; and, not forgetting, the multitude of colleagues over the years who were consistently buoyed by every new discovery of André's, which he would discuss loudly, and volubly — no one could make people more excited about the most seemingly insignificant fashion details than him. Even his stream of colorful faxes and emails were a highly anticipated event, something we all looked forward to," Wintour said.

Although the pair's friendship had ups and downs, which Talley opened up about in his memoir, The Chiffon Trenches, Wintour said the pain of losing her friend of nearly 40 years feels "immeasurable."

"Yet it's the loss of Andre as my colleague and friend that I think of now; it's immeasurable. He was magnificent and erudite and wickedly funny — mercurial, too," she said.

Andre Leon Talley, Anna Wintour
Andre Leon Talley, Anna Wintour. Michael Loccisano/FilmMagic

"Like many decades-long relationships, there were complicated moments, but all I want to remember today, all I care about, is the brilliant and compassionate man who was a generous and loving friend to me and to my family for many, many years, and who we will all miss so much," Wintour added.

Talley first joined Vogue in 1983 as the magazine's fashion news director. He quickly rose to creative director and became Wintour's right-hand — a position he held from 1987 to 1995. He left Vogue in 1995 and moved to Paris, where he returned to W Magazine after working at the publication earlier in his career.

He continued contributing to Vogue as an editor until he rejoined the magazine in 1998 full-time as the editor-at-large, writing the monthly column Style Fax. He stayed in this role until his final departure from Vogue in 2013.

Over his career, Talley also contributed to Women's Wear Daily, The New York Times, and Interview Magazine. He is also the subject of the documentary The Gospel According to André, which was released in 2018.

Talley and Wintour's decades-long friendship became strained after a red-carpet shakeup rocked Talley's usual Met Gala duties, when a YouTube personality was named host of the 2018 event, in lieu of him.

Andre Leon Talley, Anna Wintour
Andre Leon Talley, Anna Wintour. Rose Hartman/Getty

"There was a divide and then an earthquake," Talley told PEOPLE in 2020 of the fallout. "I felt, at a certain moment, she could not articulate it to me. Something happened."

He added: "I had suddenly become too old, overweight and uncool for Anna Wintour. I don't think she understands what she does to people."

Despite their rough patches, Talley still considered his memoir to be a "love letter" to Wintour. "I love her," Talley told PEOPLE. "People see my book as a vengeful, bitchy tell-all. It is not. My book is in many ways a love letter to Anna Wintour."

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