The Gospel According to Andre (2017) Movie Script

ANDRE: I don't live for fashion,
I live for beauty and style.
Fashion is fleeting,
style remains.
I think, that beauty comes
in many forms...
it could be a flower,
it could be a gesture.
It could be so many things.
So many things.
Voltaire says, "One must
cultivate, one's own garden".
Which doesn't mean
to grow garden peas.
But if you like string
beans, that would be good.
But you must also
cultivate your own,
aesthetic in your own universe.
Create your own universe, and share it
with people that you, respect and love.
Oh! Look at that.
Can you believe that!
My God!
Are you... (INAUDIBLE)
ANDRE: This Andre Leon Talley,
reporting live from Paris.
Backstage at Azzedine Alaia's
little apartment
on Rue Bellechasse.
We've got Kenzo.
We've got... (INAUDIBLE)
one of the famous Parisian mannequins
from the high fashion world of 1952.
In an Azzedine Alaia, we got
Bethann Hardison from New York City.
An entrepreneur of some of
the best and important models.
Now watch, the magic,
that he's invented.
The sleeveless...
coat comes off...
And there's a beautiful
what I'm gonna
call ski trousers.
There are very, very few people,
that have the wealth
of information, that have
the first-hand experience of creative
moments that Andre has witnessed.
My job, is to make sure that Vogue
has the first entre into every door
of every important house,
be a fashion house or the house of someone
who has a great art collection.
To be the first to get Madonna
on the cover of Vogue.
No one really needs another
handbag or another sweater
or another coat.
It has to be emotional.
And Andre could always make
- the reader feel that dream, and feel that emotion.
I have to say this, I have to get this on the
record 'cause I just arrived from Milan.
Since, the collection in
January, single handedly, again,
the fashion world has been totally
influenced by your collection.
It's gone from zen minimalism to
quiet (INAUDIBLE) style folklore.
Andre is one of the last
of those great editors,
who knows, what they're looking
at, knows what they're seeing,
knows where it came from.
And Andre tosses
out all these different words,
and he's so big and he's so grand,
and his gestures are so grand.
I think a lot of people think,
"Oh, my God, this guy is crazy".
But it's a fabulous insanity.
Hi guys, how are you?
ANDRE: This is
a beautiful dress.
Do you want a revolution? Whoo! Whoo!
Say do you want a revolution?
I think two bracelets, When you have
two bracelets, it means you're wealthy.
- Your husband can afford both.
He didn't have to buy it
on credit.
Come on
Do you want a revolution?
ANDRE: Oh my...
Oh, the style!
- This is major, where is this from?
- This is Gucci.
I say do you want
A revolution...
's a Russian oligarch... black...
He's like the Nelson Mandela
of Couture.
Rachel, this it. Look.
This is it.
The Kofi Annan,
of what you got on.
- WOMAN: What do you think of this outfit?
- ANDRE: Dreckitude.
- What is a dreckitude?
- "Dreck" which means a wreck!
EBONI: Andre is at once a legend
in mainstream culture.
And, he is also a tall, big,
black man,
in America.
Born in the American South.
EBONI: And as such there will
always be great tension there.
We see how great it is,
how great is it to be Andre Leon Talley!
Its great excitement, great beauty, great
revilement, ravishment, wonderment, sex.
EBONI: But he knows,
what it has taken.
Where my Cleavland saints at?
Whoop whoop!
Where my Charlotte saints at?
Whoop whoop!
Where my Tampa saints at?
Whoop whoop!
Where my
Fort Worth saints at!
- (THUD)
- Watch that shrub!
He's scared of something.
You see the way he hit that thing?
And if he breaks that shrub?
You see that shrub?
Don't hit the shrub!
- Okay.
ANDRE: I wonder how heavy that tree is?
That branch. Look at that he's taking it.
God! He must be strong,
but look at that.
ANDRE: I hate to cut
a tree down.
But sometimes, it's necessary.
When I was child, there was one big maple
tree and it was a beautiful, beautiful tree.
It was huge and it took
over the whole front yard.
It just created
the greatest shade.
All my aunts and uncles used to come
over and sit on the porch in the summer,
when the weather was warm.
ANDRE: They just told
the most wonderful stories.
It was an amazing life,
based on narrative and anecdotes.
Narration, narrated, narrative,
all from past experiences
of life.
ANDRE: When I was born,
I was taken to Durham
and then my mother
and father left me there.
And my grandmother raised me.
My grandmother kept me basically
protected from any sort of outside world
except the extended family,
the world of church.
It was a very protected world
that I basically lived in,
where the most important person
in the world was my grandmother.
And it was very much
a parallel world to,
uh, Truman Capote's,
A Christmas Memory.
NARRATOR: A coming of winter
morning, more than 30 years ago...
WOMAN: Oh my...
It's fruitcake weather.
NARRATOR: The person to whom
she is speaking is myself.
And we have lived together well
as long as I can remember.
We are each other's
best friend.
She calls me "buddy".
BRUCE: His grandmother was
a stickler,
nobody messed with her.
She could scream all the way
from a... two city blocks,
you could, you could hear her.
VOICE) Andre!
Andr Leon Talley,
get in here.
His grandmother was
just everything.
For him,
just absolutely everything.
The Southern Culture and his grandmother,
um, greatly impacted who he is.
I had a kind of discipline
that I learned early.
I always had to make up my bed,
properly and neatly.
ANDRE: My grandmother was
a domestic maid all her life.
washing and-and cleaning rooms
in a dorm to-to provide for me.
We had a very humble,
modest place to live.
And we were not poor,
we were certainly not wealthy.
But we had a very clean house,
respectable house.
We lived in wood frame houses.
The houses, that we live in,
in North Carolina,
we didn't have central heat,
and those luxuries. But he saw the
luxury that his grandmother created,
in that space.
And even though they didn't have
much they created,
so much in what they were doing.
ANDRE: I just remember going
to church was
the most important thing
in life.
Getting up and getting dressed
to go to church on Sunday.
My grandmother got up.
She made a pan of biscuits
for me.
I'd eat the whole pan
of biscuits myself...
get dressed, get in the car,
then go to the church.
Amidst the Jim Crow south
the Black Church was the only place,
really, in which African-American life
and African-American identity
was affirmed and valued.
Oh happy day
EBONI: And certainly,
it was a fashion show.
Members of African-American
Congregations put on their Sunday best.
They changed from the uniforms,
perhaps, or the work clothes,
that, um, guided their lives
Monday to Fridays,
and on Sunday, that was the day
we would bring
our absolute best to God.
ANDRE: My grandmother had fabulous
hats, fabulous hats.
And you just didn't have
one hat, you had many hats.
I remember, my grandmother had
stacks and stacks of hat boxes.
You had hats for seasons,
you had winter hats, you had velvet hats.
You had the dressing hats
for, uh, the holiday season.
And you had spring hats
and summer hats.
Oh happy day
My grandmother taught me
about dignity and values...
and striving for excellence...
rigor, discipline, maintenance,
cleanliness, next to Godliness.
ANDRE: It's aristocratic in
the highest sense of the word.
You can be aristocratic without having
been born into an aristocratic family.
I think we can all agree that this has been
a rough week in an already rough election.
MICHELLE OBAMA: This week has been
particularly interesting for me personally
- because it has been a week of...
- Oh!
profound contrast.
See on Tuesday, at the White
House, we celebrate...
I became familiar with Andre,
like a lot of other young women
through Vogue magazine.
And for me being a black woman
from the South, he represented
so much more than
this grand character.
It was this broader
representation of black people,
that were not a monolith.
That we come in, this various
shape, size and interesting colors.
Oh no, not the dog.
No wait...
There, now you're done.
Sweetie, sweetie...
- See, I'm nice.
- Ooh!
- It's the most precious thing!
- Don't be jealous.
Oh! Look at her.
- Oh!
- She just loves you.
Oh, my God.
Yeah, amazing, amazing, amazing.
I said... I twittered, "Michelle Obama
should get the Noble Peace Prize,
for her oratory, her eloquence."
If Hilary Clinton wins,
- I think...
- ANDRE: She will owe a great deal to Michelle Obama.
- TAMRON: Absolutely!
- ANDRE: And I love the way she looked.
- Slim leggings, it was amazing.
- TAMRON: How do you think, her fashion has changed over...
I think it's evolved as being
more and more confident.
It's incredible!
- Clothing reflects where she is...
- Reflects she is, and yes,
- ANDRE: yes, yes...
- versus where she was, you know, trying to
- assimilate as a proper First Lady in the beginning.
- ANDRE: Exactly.
But she now has totally even keel
and it's really quite incredible.
TAMRON: I feel like a princess.
- ANDRE: Don't... (LAUGHING)
- Could you believe I was born
- in shotgun house. Two rooms.
- My grandfather was a sharecropper,
- Beautiful, beautiful.
and today, look what happened.
- Beautiful. White House bound.
- White House bound.
Anyone will tell you,
to be invited to the White House,
no matter your political affiliation,
it's our... it's our House.
You know,
this is America's home.
- Okay, come here, come here.
- TAMRON: Yeah.
- ANDRE: Laura.
- LAURA: Yes.
Carefully, I think,
you could open this pleated two...
TAMRON: We both, know my affection
for Lena Horne and Dorothy Dandridge,
And that presentation of
the woman in the body.
There's a sheer elegance.
Tack it lightly, down here
where the bias is,
where the point is. So when she's
standing, this is like a frame.
TAMRON: This is my dream dress.
- The dress, I wanted to wear to the White House. This is...
- Aw.
- ANDRE: It's quite beautiful, Tamron.
- It is, right?
ANDRE: Fashion has to uplift
the soul.
It uplifts the spirit.
- Let's go.
- ANDRE: Now, let's see, walk now. Let's walk.
Oh! Yes, lightly, lightly.
ANDRE: It's a moral code
to dress well.
ANDRE: All of my relatives,
all the women in my family
and the men had style.
The chic thing was to go to downtown
Durham and go to Jo Belle's.
It's a very chic hat store.
But Jo Belle's had this
Jim Crow system,
where if a black woman came
in the store to try on a hat,
she was asked to put on a veil,
but the white women would not.
In other words, the back woman's hair
was not supposed to touch a new hat.
So, I was aware of the outside world, I was
definitely aware of the Civil Rights Movement.
There were dogs being thrown
on people in the South.
All of this was
on the television.
It made me very aware of what
kind of a culture I came from.
And what, we as
African-Americans had to suffer.
My escape from reality
was Vogue magazine.
And I actually discovered it
in a general public library.
The visual moments of Vogue,
turned me on, it made me think,
about style, culture, poetry
and music, beauty.
I always look forward
to the fantasy covers.
Girls in gilded cages,
it's ornamental,
but to the point that it wasn't
considered wrong it was considered right.
I loved seeing Pat Cleveland
in Vogue.
I love seeing black people
in Vogue.
I love seeing pictures
of Naomi Sims in Vogue.
Then I just went
completely bonkers.
These were two incredible black
models, changing fashion.
I could see that there were
people who were not racists,
who were not judging you
for the skin color you had.
That was my most important
escape, and that was my world.
TOM: Fashion magazines, they do allow
you to dream, they're not real life,
they're enhanced reality. They're the
way that you wish your life could be.
They're the way that you
imagine life should be.
And it was a form of escape
to a world which was,
kind and gentle and nice
and beautiful.
MARC: Andre grew up
in a magic bubble.
And it was genuinely like completely
head over heels, immersed in all of it.
I was in that insulated world,
reading everything
I could get my hands on.
Reading W, reading The New York
Time, reading The Fashionable Savages
Mr. Fairchild, described the
world that was larger than life.
He described the world
of Paris Couture.
He described the venerable houses
of Givenchy and Balenciaga.
He described Dior,
he described the people who made fashion.
This was a world,
that was almost like the world of Balzac,
like characters in a novel but it
was actually characters in a real,
non-fictional world.
In April 1962, when Mrs. Diana Vreeland
deserted Harper's Bazaar for Vogue,
the fashion world jumped.
Mrs. Vreeland is like
no one else.
She's a mighty fashion chief.
She told
the assembled editors,
the clothes are dull, dull,
There's only one thing to do
with the girls,
make them up, up, up, up.
Mrs. Vreeland always thinks up.
It made the culture of style
come alive to a young,
black man in the South.
Every Sunday after church,
I'd have to go across town to the Duke
East Campus, to the magazine
stand to get the Vogues.
And one Sunday,
I was going across the railroad tracks,
and people threw rocks
at me from a car.
I wasn't wearing capes or anything.
I was walking around in normal,
like a sweater,
like a ski sweater or something.
And I thought that this was
a bunch of white boys at Duke,
decided to throw rocks at me
cause I was walking the campus.
But I was taught to rise
above it and to be strong.
went to an all black high school
Hillside was a school that
almost forced you to excel
to the best of your ability.
And it was excellence
without an excuse.
And they accepted nothing
less than that.
WANDA: When Andre was a student,
we still had segregation.
There was always the notion
you couldn't just be good,
you had to be better.
And success, is the best revenge.
- Hey young man!
- Hi. Good to see you. All right.
All right. Good to see you too.
This is good. My fondest memory of you is you
had a fabulous grey flannel skirt, full,
very full like
a Dior-New-Look skirt.
And you used to wear stilettos. And you used
to click clack down the hall, the main hall,
and it was fabulous seeing you
walking down the hall swishing,
and wooshing in that huge,
wide skirt.
Maybe, you didn't know it and I didn't
know it at the time, but it was,
uh, the total image of the Dior-New-Look
of 1947. Do you remember that skirt?
Because Bruce has his memory,
his... tell 'em your memory.
I was looking at your skirt and Bruce
was looking at other things, your legs.
- That's true.
But how do you remember Bruce and I.
How do you remember?
What-what do you remember
about me?
I remember that I was
in A Mouse That Roared.
I was the star of The Mouse That Roared.
Count Mount Joy, Love Joy,
or mount joy, one or the other.
I played two roles.
I played every role.
- And you, and you knew, you were well suited.
- ANDRE: Yes, I did. I did.
WANDA: Andre was flamboyant.
When we did The Mouse That Roared.
The part that he played.
He was the Count.
It was almost like type casting.
My dear chap, I have sent not
one protest but three, mind you.
He was outstanding and stood
out, because of his height,
because of his mannerisms. When heard
him speak you knew it was Andre.
Bourguignon, we're gonna make
beef bourguignon.
ANDRE: Julia Child made me
gravitate towards French,
learning how to speak
the language.
...and bon apptit.
ANDRE: French was absolutely
my favorite, favorite subject.
So, I think, that's why,
I mastered French
Whack it off!
He was creating for himself,
out of what he loved.
Just a unbelievable,
unbelievable character.
ANDRE: Believe it or not, I was inspired
by a woman, Lady Ottoline Morrell.
Who was an English personality.
Ottoline Morrell inspired me
as much,
as Dr. Martin Luther King did me with
the white... impeccable white shirt.
I was inspired by people who
just had dared to be daring.
I mean, in high school I was the
outrider, the out-cryer, the outlier.
The bullies hated me in school
cause I was the best dressed.
And I had the best clothes.
ANDRE: I don't like this kind
of nostalgia for high school.
And I didn't agree with
these people that were chosen
to be the most likely to...
senior superlatives,
- Oh! No!
- Right.
- And probably half of them are bums now.
- Right and, or dead.
- Or derelicts or dead.
- Yeah.
"Most talented, most humorous,
I didn't agree with any of that.
"Most popular",
- Darly Smith was the most popular. That's right.
- That's true.
And "The Best Dressed"
is really wrong.
What was your goal,
in the yearbook?
Well, I just made this up,
ambition, to become a professional
actor on Broadway I just
made that up at that time.
And I love that I wrote it,
my hobby was skiing.
- Like I ever had a ski on in my life.
- Right.
Do you recall, how many biscuits
you would have made just for you.
- Yeah, I had 12 biscuits, yes.
- Twelve, 12 biscuits,
- for you only.
- Yes
Beverly said you ate
five hot dogs coming up here.
MARC: I eat five hot dogs
every day, I can.
But you... That's not good for your health.
Even I know... I don't eat five hot dogs.
- Why did you eat five hot dogs?
- But... the same reason you eat caviar.
- Okay.
- I don't eat caviar.
- Well, what joy does a hot dog give it to you.
- It has too much salt.
What a joy does hot dogs
give you?
- Satisfaction.
- When you know it's not good for your cholesterol?
You know it's not good.
Caviar, how good is that
for you with salt?
Well, I don't eat it every day.
You eat five hot dogs every day.
I eat caviar on special occasions.
- MARC: Uh-huh.
- When I go to Valentino's house.
It's a level that I have never
lived a lifestyle, I've never lived
- ANDRE: Hmm, hmm.
- I've appreciated many things that were exposed
- to me because of you, uh, starting with your father.
- Well, that's kind.
Yes, Okay. I think,
my father preferred you to me.
- MARC: I don't agree.
- But I wouldn't think so.
ANDRE: My father was in my life,
but he was living in DC.
He was a taxi cab driver.
I couldn't wait to see that taxi cab,
in front of Andre's grandmother's home
with that Washington D.C.
plate on it.
MARC: His daddy, he would take us to
baseball games and I'd be there so excited
with the popcorn
and with the sodas.
And Andre would be sitting
there, more or less pouting.
And we'd go to the shopping mall
and then that's when he got excited,
when we went shopping.
- I'm wearing... second hand hats.
Second hand clothes.
That's why they call me
Second hand Rose
ANDRE: Barbra Streisand inspired
me to go thrift shopping,
"Second Hand Rose", a song.
She ran through Bergdorf's in
leopard and white mink knickers
and then she would shop
at the thrift stores.
And she loved going
to thrift stores.
And I thought, if it's good enough for
Barbra Streisand, it's good enough for me.
And I happened to been in New York one
summer and I went to the thrift shop
and I found the most extraordinary
maxi rubberized cape.
I think I paid about five dollars for
it, maybe less than five dollars
and, it was my first cape.
ANDRE: Capes for me, suggests a great
moment. They are very, very formal
- and regal.
- MAN: The train 18 feet long.
ANDRE: When you're wearing a cape,
you're gonna behave differently,
you're gonna stand differently
and walk differently.
I really have this appreciation
for the dramatic moment.
I mean, this coat is
a great coat.
This coat is inspired
by all kinds of...
literary heroes and heroines.
Russian, people in the Russian...
Tolstoy, people out of Tolstoy.
I might've said something
to Carla about Tolstoy,
Anna Karenina, that's why
the collar's like this.
Andre is an operatic figure, you know, you
look at him, I mean, he is larger than life.
What moves him is that idea,
like just do it, think it, wear it.
TOM: When he's like, oh, darling,
make me a cape to the floor,
or darling, I need
a ruffled shirt or whatever.
I... There's no hesitation like,
do you think I should wear this.
It's just...
there, out there.
And then like, changing
your mind tomorrow.
I made some ridiculous style
I had Miuccia Prada, make me
a mauve alligator coat.
And then I wrapped my turban,
it was mauve, like the Indians do.
And then when I saw the picture that came in
that paper, I thought this is a big mistake.
I remember those disasters.
These were not good moments in my wardrobe.
My best moments have been my kaftans, I
love everything that I've worn to the Met.
ANDRE: When I was young,
I was thin as a number five lead pencil.
And I look back on those
pictures and I think,
Thank God!
There's documentation of me.
I was thin, maybe up to
the age of 40,
when I began to bloat up.
I just don't seem
to lose the weight.
I've been quite bloated
like a manatee.
I often think of myself
as a manatee.
But yet and still I made the effort
to go to the Met, looking fabulous.
Andre completely transgresses
the boundary of what
has been deemed acceptable
for black masculinity.
EBONI: The black church has its liabilities
as it relates to gender and sexuality.
And Andre bumped up against
what was considered respectable.
I remember once, I went to church
with my navy blue maxi coat, which is
in impeccable condition,
found in a thrift shop.
And my mother said,
"You gotta hang back, hang back I
can't walk into church with you."
I said, "Why, what's wrong?" She says,
"I can't walk into church with you.
I can't be seen with you and
that Phantom of the Opera coat."
And I said, "Oh! Well, then okay,
I was just... If you wanna go up to...
to the... you know, up the aisle
by yourself."
My pleasure, feel free, go ahead.
And I thought about that.
I stood outside and I
thought about it a while.
And that's the first time
I realized
that I did not have to like my
mother, I had to respect my mother.
But I did not have to like her. She thought
I dressed like the Phantom of the Opera.
She didn't understand it.
And my grandmother said,
"Leave him alone."
My grandmother got everything.
Unconditional love.
I knew I had to get out
of Durham.
And I went to Brown,
I got the scholarship,
getting a graduate degree
in French studies.
My grandmother was sad to see me go, but
she knew it was furthering my education.
I really think had I not left home I'd
still be in Durham, North Carolina,
going to church.
How are you?
We both went to Brown
and we both love fashion.
- ANDRE: Oh, she went to Brown too!
- I went to Brown too!
Oh, my!
So, we have, um, the shape
of the gown.
for you to try on,
this is the exact shape.
- Yes, you have to shorten it. I don't like it long... no.
- No, it's gotta be...
And I don't like that on you
at all, that-that dress!
- I like the shape, but I know the shape is gonna be different.
- WOMAN: Yeah.
- Hold this up to you.
- WOMAN: So...
Is that the right side for it?
- No, this is the right side.
- This is the right side.
YVONNE: The first week
for orientation,
all the first year
graduate students gathered.
So, I was standing there, and here
comes this towering, pine tree of a guy,
uh, walking with this long
trench coat and a fedora hat.
And I thought, I don't think
he's a science major.
And he was all presence
with this booming voice.
And he introduced himself
to me.
He asked me, uh, how many pieces
of Louis Vuitton luggage I owned.
And I said, "None."
And he said, "Darling! You will need them
when you cross the ocean on the QE2."
I go, "right."
He was at Brown,
in Providence, I was across the street
at Rhodes Island School of Design.
RISD and myself
and my friends represented,
a freedom, that he had never
experienced in his life.
So, we sort of opened his eyes
to what...
style could be or what...
being yourself might feel like.
ANDRE: I wrote a column in the RISD paper.
And I covered the scene.
It was kind of a decadent group
because they were very affluent.
And I remember some of them
didn't go to classes.
And they would wake up
having Bloody Mary's.
I guess, that was just how they grew up. They
said that their parents woke up and did that.
I never thought of even waking up to
drink a Bloody Mary at 11 in the morning,
before the first class.
Fashion was our devotion.
We were not into, uh,
crystal meth
or cocaine or heroin.
Our passion, was fashion.
We would use,
these kind of dress up nights,
where we'd...
stay home and create
- kind of, "fashion moments."
We would play
in laundry bags or,
sheets of paper,
all as an escape.
We were invited nowhere.
We'd get all dressed up,
we had nowhere to go.
This is how we spent
every night.
He was spreading his wings,
and he could be
anything, here.
He had a dream,
don't wanna sound like Martin
Luther King, but, yeah,
Andre had a dream.
ANDRE: I did not know who exactly I
was, I was becoming.
But I did get out of
the Jim Crow south.
Brown gave me, a freedom,
a liberation.
It propelled me into the world,
that I know.
...three, two, one, coming back.
Fashion, culture, fabulous!
This is Full Length
with Andre Leon Talley
Welcome back to Full Length.
I'm Andre Leon Talley.
And I'm here today with my fabulous
guest and dear friend, Norma Kamali.
And I have known her
since way back in the day.
Well, I'd say back in the day,
since the great, great 70's.
The last one, when there was true
style reigning in New York City.
Welcome, Norma. Thank you for
your great time, your valued time.
- Oh, it's so great to be with you, Andre.
- Thank you, Norma, thank you.
So, let's go back to when,
actually, New York defined style,
- almost globally.
NORMA: The 70's were the birth,
and the explosion
of the fashion industry,
with designers as celebrities,
and the creativity was like
nothing you'd ever seen before.
It was a very freeing time,
and I don't think,
I wore a bra or underwear through
the whole beginning part of the 70's.
ANDRE: Yves Saint Laurent,
and Halston were the kings of fashion.
Halston in America,
Saint Laurent in Paris.
Halston was
more of a minimalist
and Yves Saint Laurent was
more of a romanticist.
In 1974, Halston was already
a big star.
His lifestyle
and his minimalistic look
permeated everything
about fashion.
And that's what I dreamed of.
I listened to people who were
from New York, and they said,
"You should
follow your dreams."
And I did take the risk
to come to New York in 1974.
I went up to the Metropolitan
Museum of Art.
I wanted to be
at The Costume Institute.
And, I had a letter of
introduction to Diana Vreeland,
to volunteer for Romantic and
Glamorous Hollywood Design, the show.
They gave me
this Lana Turner costume.
of metal pieces, that I had
to put together with pliers.
So I'd never seen
anything like it.
And I had to figure out which pieces
attached to the bathing suit part
of the piece, and then,
the whole skirt was a curtain
of fringe,
of these metal discs.
And I just had to assemble like
a jigsaw puzzle.
And, uh, I put it on the mannequin and Mrs.
Vreeland came by and saw it.
I hid behind the column.
She stopped and looked
at it. She said nothing.
But, then, two minutes later,
they called me into the office,
and said, Mrs.
Vreeland would like to see you.
She sat on the side of her desk,
with a big, yellow legal pad.
And she wrote
in very exaggerated scale,
Andre, with the accent, and then in a
pencil, she put a dash, and she said,
"Helper." H.e.l.p.e.r.
And she wrote that,
and then she put her pen down.
And she said, "Now, you will stay by
my side for the rest of the show."
I gravitated toward Mrs.
Vreeland in a way that I cannot tell you.
She was a theatrical, dramatic.
She looked like,
she was seven feet tall.
Because she stood up straight, and she
just sketched stretched and up, up, up.
And she made
very dramatic gestures.
Please, don't stand there.
Andre would, actually,
become Vreeland, like,
he'd walk around saying,
"Mm, I want drama.
I want navy and pink.
- Think pink, get crackin'."
- Great, great!
The little details,
she made very luxurious in her life.
Luxury wasn't having, like,
antique furniture or a painting by Picasso.
Luxury was in the mind.
The luxury of a great dress,
comes from within.
MRS. VREELAND: You know,
my greatest joy
in working here is to
go through the closets.
and see the magnificence
of the fabrics.
You see... (MUMBLING)
the way this hung, the marvelous color,
and the feathers against the skin,
it's so beautiful.
Mrs. Vreeland stays
with me every day.
She taught me the language of
clothes, the language of style.
ANDRE: Hello! Ladies.
Oh, look at those
velvet Chanels.
ANDRE: And everything is impeccably kept.
These are not clothes found
in a dustbin.
These are true, true treasured pieces.
Nothing shabby here.
And this is Mrs. Vreeland's great kaftan,
one of two, from Oscar de la Renta.
This is typical Mrs. Vreeland. And I'm
sure the embellishment was a big part
of the whole charm and the fabulous,
enthusiastic, exuberant color.
It's very Russian, this.
You might see this
in a Russian Orthodox Church.
Mrs. Vreeland would have loved to
have been entering from her bedroom
in that, with all the sparkle.
ANDRE: Now, what is that?
That red one?
- WOMAN: Valentino.
- ANDRE: Valentino, is that Mrs. Vreeland's?
- Yes.
- What?
ANDRE: Oh, my goodness!
I think that's the great dress she
might've worn in the Horst picture.
Sprawled out on her
big red sofa.
That's the dress!
He was very close
to Diana Vreeland.
When Diana Vreeland, she was
not feeling so well,
he was so exceptional.
He used to go to her apartment.
And to read some book,
to read the magazine, the newspaper.
To let her know what happened in the world,
because, she couldn't go out anymore.
This is something
with the big Andre heart,
because he had a big heart
and in...
When he... he would love
somebody, was really for serious.
ANDRE: Mrs. Vreeland gave me
unconditional love.
And I always say, my grandma, and Mrs.
Vreeland were very much alike.
She believed in cleanliness, and my
grandmother believed in cleanliness.
Polishing, ironing, washing.
And they both gave joy
to people.
As Mrs. Vreeland says, "You want to
give the world some sort of spark,
that is, perhaps, not there."
The only Christmas I was ever
away, first Christmas,
was December, 1974,
when I had gone to the Met Ball.
Romantic and Glamorous Hollywood
Design, and, um,
Mrs. Vreeland said to me,
"You must stay,
it'll happen for you in the new year," and
I called my grandmother on Christmas Eve.
And she says, "You have to come home,
it's Christmas, you have to come home."
I said no, because,
Mrs. Vreeland told me
that she... it will happen,
and I will get a job in the new year.
And I have to stay in New York.
She says you have to come home.
You just have to.
I said, "Why do you want me
at home?" I kept...
coaxing her to tell me why.
And she said,
"Because I know, you're sleeping
with a white woman."
And I... I just said... I laughed.
I started laughing, and I thought.
"If she only knew."
ANDRE: I didn't go home, Mrs. Vreeland said
it would happen. And she made it happen.
And I went to work
at Interview magazine.
I went to the factory and I answered
the phone, I was receptionist.
And I went to pick up
Andy's lunch and brownies.
I used to love to see
the people walk into Interview.
Mrs. Vreeland would come
for lunch.
And then, people would come in and have
their Polaroids taken for their portraits.
Princess Caroline of Monaco,
Michael Jackson, Diana Ross.
I was at the center of everything,
right there with Andy Warhol.
No one notified me, well, Andre's
gonna be there, I never heard of him,
And I walk into Interview,
and he was sitting behind the so-called,
reception desk.
I was very startled, because,
he was preceded by a string of
debutantes, who had this job.
You know, half of them,
you know, first there, you know,
what-what's your name,
Lady so and so.
So, um, and they were many even quite fetching,
but none of them answered the phone.
Okay, so,
they were not really
used to working in a...
even like, "Hello, Interview."
Um, so I thought like, who is this
guy, so, someone tell me his name.
Um, and I, I didn't quite hear
it, so I said to him,
"Is your name Andre Laley?"
That's what I thought,
I heard. He said, "No.
Talley. Andre Leon Talley,
as in Talleyrand."
And I burst out laughing.
I thought he was joking.
But he was dead serious.
ANDRE: I danced every night
at Studio 54, every night.
Dancing, dancing, I went there
for the dancing,
not for the decadence,
the downstairs drug-taking,
and upstairs sexual decadence that
was going on upstairs, in the balcony.
- Where I absolutely saw, like, Sodom and Gomorrah.
FRAN: You can't imagine the orgy
that New York was in the 70's.
You know, the word promiscuous
doesn't like begin to touch it.
We thought sex was good for you,
like orange juice.
But Andre was like a nun.
I did... not involved sexually
in that scene with anyone.
And, as I call them
libertines, for want to be kind.
Don't forget, Andre came
to New York
from a very conservative
Southern background.
- How do you like the nightlife,
- I love nightlife...
- in New York?
Andre wasn't part of our
neighborhood, so to speak.
He was like an implant,
or what do call it, immigrant? No.
Someone who comes
from, you know, outside.
BETHAN: We all were different. But, he
was, you know, he added to the difference.
My mother once said to me, "You know that
friend of yours, the African prince."
So I said, "What friend
of mine, the African Prince?"
"You know you have a friend
who's an African Prince."
I said, "I don't have friend
who's an African Prince.
I absolutely have never had a
friend who's an African Prince."
"Yes, we met him at that party.
He was wearing a turban." Andre.
To my mother, a black man dressed like
that, he must be an African Prince.
ANDRE: There was probably a
little bit of a fantasy of me.
Maybe I was like...
A black..., a black page,
like in a Russian court.
But, I had something to say.
And I think the people
who mattered, realized that.
For all those, you know, people who
could look at him for who he was,
he so happened to have been of
color, he so happened to have been
a big guy that was of color.
But he had a knowledge that
you could just...
he could drop on you.
And then speak French fluently,
being so tall,
and so lean,
and you just wonder,
you know, where you... Who you...
who are you? Where you come from?
People's heads went...
Just exploded, because he was so
many things he wasn't supposed to be.
And they couldn't get around it.
He just was.
He was, you know,
this African American from North Carolina.
Tall, beautiful guy.
When he was working
at Interview,
he became part of the landscape
of New York.
All of these photographs
are people that shaped
the whole personality of...
New York society, then.
ANDRE: It's just amazing.
I just... it just lived it.
I mean, I had those people on my walls,
and then I was meeting the people.
My first big interview was
with Karl Lagerfeld in May,
of 1975.
We all met at the Plaza Hotel,
for tea, in the living room,
of Karl's suite.
I think he was impressed that
I asked the right questions.
And then, at the end of the
interview, Karl said to me,
Come into my room,
could you see me in the bedroom, please?
And, I thought, uh,
what is this, okay?
I went into the bedroom...
In the bedroom were these
beautiful trunks from Goyard
and he was throwing things
out of the trunks.
Crepe de chine shirts and crepe de
chine scarves, custom made in... Paris.
He literally was throwing things, take
this, take this... take this... take this.
And, um, I wore them.
I wore them out.
So, he and I got on, like,
from that first meeting.
ANDRE: Do you feel that you have
some sort of superhuman energy
that gets you through all
of these collections?
KARL: Yes, in a way,
sometimes I have that feeling.
KARL: But, even my,
my doctor tells me, he said I'm,
- I'm from another planet, I don't know.
- So, naturale.
I thought myself very much down
to earth,
- but, seems to be different.
He's an innovator
because he allows a spontaneity,
and a magic to come.
Accidents happened,
and they became,
totally magic moments.
Have you had a great moment
of creativity?
Or a great moment of excitement?
Once you have a moment every
day, if one can possibly...
But doesn't happen everyday
in New York now.
Moments should come
to you every day.
You have to see the world through
the kaleidoscope eyes of a child.
And just be in awe
of everything.
ANDRE: This is
my absentee ballot, look.
TAMRON: Oh, politics here we go.
ANDRE: My absentee ballot.
- WALKER: Who's in there?
- ANDRE: Uh, uh, uh, uh.
- You know who's, is in there.
- TAMRON: The pride of his life, right now.
I'm excited that in 11 days...
Andre, will be free.
I will be free from
that television.
TAMRON: Oh, my gosh.
ANDRE: I watched
the marathon last Saturday,
Jaws, one, two and three.
TAMRON: How do you watch
two and three?
- One was so great.
- One... after two and three,
- more to watch.
- They were good?
- It was important to watch to see how they sequelled it...
- To see where it goes, okay.
ANDRE: By Jaws 3,
the shark is so big,
they can swim inside the mouth
of the jaw
and plant a bomb.
The man enters the mouth of
the shark
and plants the detonating bomb
and swims out.
At your dinner fantasy party
of designers...
four guests at your party...
dead or alive,
- dinner fantasy party.
- But they would all be dead.
TAMRON: Okay, well that's fine.
- EBONI: Four, which four?
- MAN: Dead or alive?
Madame Grs, Chanel,
And two men, I'd have to be five,
Balenciaga and Saint Laurent.
When you see
Madame Grs clothes, oh.
Wolf trousers!
- WALKER: Wh... What?
- Wolf.
WALKER: I've never seen those.
- Wolf. This is an education.
- ANDRE: Wolf!
WALKER: The animal
in the forest.
- WALKER: Oh, my gosh.
- Fur.
- Yeah, so, uh...
- Break my wrist
- No, I...
- ANDRE: Oh...
- WALKER: Did you ever meet, Madame Grs?
- Of course, I did.
ANDRE: That's why I was
such a success,
because I could speak the language.
I can hold my own with them,
you know, I didn't say,
(STUTTERS) bonjour.
- ANDRE: I said bonjour. (SPEAKING FRENCH)
- I said bonjour for four years.
ANDRE: Everyone knew that I became
friends with Karl Lagerfeld.
So it was very exciting to me
to be going to Paris
to be fashion editor
for Women's Wear Daily.
The first night I was scared
and I was alone.
When I stepped off the plane with
13 pieces of unmatched luggage,
I was frightened.
I didn't know
what I was getting into.
I didn't think that I was all
that and a bag of chips.
We have a saying in
the black community down south,
you think you're all that
and a bag of potato chips.
Well, I did not think I was a bag of
potato chips, I was very insecure.
It was sort of like,
they didn't want to accept me in Paris.
that Women's Wear,
since it's black men.
But, yet they knew that I was
talented and knowledgeable.
RALPH: He was right
at the center
and he was in Paris
and he was the bureau chief,
which, really, was being
in the eye of the storm.
ANDRE: Yves Saint Laurent,
was the moment of fashion
He had two great muses,
Betty and Loulou, and I got
to know both of them.
BETTY: I introduced him
to Saint Laurent,
which was very difficult because
Saint Laurent is very private.
You know, we were, sort of...
ANDRE: He was a master of cloth.
The fluid evening dresses,
the sensuous draping of his clothes.
The drama of
a great operatic collection,
inspired by the Russian czars,
and Czarina's, the moguls.
The clothes just expressed
a kind of inspiration,
that you would expect from
a painter or a great filmmaker.
The first and most important
thing, I had to write about was...
the Yves Saint Laurent
collection in January of 1978.
When Mounia came down the runway
to the tunes of Porgy and Bess,
with a silver lacquer
straw boater
and a pale pink suit.
Yves Saint Laurent,
strutted, uh Broadway, City Lights,
Bourbon Street and Big Time Jazz,
in a couture collection
that is certain to be,
one of the most influential
he has ever done.
Imagination, wit, zest,
vitality and energy,
marked the show from start
to finish.
"It was only a few weeks ago
that I was driving home
and heard Porgy and Bess
on the radio," said Yves.
"Then I realized,
I had the answer.
For me, Porgy and Bess,
is the epitome of the American spirit.
It is modern,
sexy, amusing and full
of gaiety."
It was just amazing
that he would listen
to Porgy and Bess,
and interpret the sound.
Through Gershwin,
through the black women
of the south,
the way my relatives
went to church...
it just hit home.
He has a childlike quality
that appreciates
things like this.
Because they reverberate.
From this little boy
from the south,
and it's almost
an unconscious,
"look at what I've become."
WOMAN: I just remember that,
all of a sudden,
he was the king of Paris,
he ruled Paris.
Beautiful 6-Ply cashmere,
utter luxury, total simplicity.
Double breasted cashmere,
expensive sweater.
The tension of navy blue
with the black sweater.
Navy blue skirt and black.
Do you know how
sophisticated it is to marry
navy blue with black.
Most women,
don't have the courage.
These are the kind of clothes
that are investment clothes.
You can get a tax write off
for all the clothes.
You could donate them to
the Costume Institute.
You know, even rich people have
a way of economizing these days.
You know, there's a lot of
effort that goes into becoming,
Andre Leon Talley.
Hey, there he is... or no.
GEORGE: Andre had established
himself as a great fashion persona,
in Paris.
I think the decision
for most people at that point
in our lives... you know,
become career oriented,
or, you know, fame oriented.
Okay, you all go down there
and get me walking.
Just go towards the, the van
and I'll just walk.
GEORGE: So, I mean, I think that
when he was becoming
Andre Leon Talley...
a partner mattered less.
And I think that, he's not unlike
many, many people that I know,
or you know.
You know, when,
when they finally say,
now is the time I want
to be in love...
The ship sometimes has passed.
ANDRE: Listen,
I have no love life.
There's no such thing
as a love life.
I've never had a love life.
I was busy, doing my career.
That is the flaw in my life
that is there.
I never have fallen in love,
or have never experienced love.
I wish
that I could've found someone
to live with as Tom Ford has
found someone to live with. Or,
I wish that I could've found
someone to live with as...
my friend, George Malcolm has,
who's been with someone for 40 years.
But I kept moving on,
I kept loving the world, that I was in.
I love the world of Paris,
I love the world of fashion,
I love the world of the runway.
I have certainly to have loved,
my career.
But, as for falling in love,
I don't know about that.
You have to have a curiosity and
you have to like what you're doing.
And, of course, I love Paris.
This is wonderful.
It's the mecca, of style.
Turkey, turkey, turkey!
Isabella, magnificent.
They're beautiful, aren't they?
- They look like bears.
- ANDRE: Oh, my goodness!
- ANDRE: These pigs are beautiful.
- Aren't they wonderful?
ISABELLA: The black one is Boris
and the red one is called Pepe.
- Hello, the chicken is amazing.
- ISABELLA: And, this chicken, she's beautiful.
ISABELLA: I call her Andy Warhol
because of the hair.
- He loves it!
Oh, wait. Pepe is a she.
ISABELLA: No, that's his penis
but it's inside.
But what are those little,
little things?
- ISABELLA: This, this...
- The dots, what are those...
- little nipples?
- Yes.
ISABELLA: Well, also male
have nipples, that is...
in science, it's one of
the big questions,
- why do male have nipples.
- Oh, why do the males have nipples.
Uh, yes.
ANDRE: How many covers did you
have in Vogue, in the 80's?
Maybe five, six hundred?
- Yeah.
- Six hundred?
I don't know since I...
I had three in a row.
- September, October, November.
- Oh well, wow, I remember.
- ISABELLA: Amazing.
- I was at Vogue in '83.
and you were already famous,
you had all these covers.
But for me, photography,
I mean, my hook to fashion...
was always image,
- in a way, you know.
- Image. Yes, yes.
- And I love wearing clothes because it was part...
- Yes.
- of the image, yeah.
- Of the image. Yes, yes, yes.
- Yeah. A visual art.
- Yes, yes.
ANDRE: When I got to Vogue,
in '83,
it was under the leadership
of Grace Mirabella.
I don't think Grace Mirabella,
understood me at all.
To illustrate that feathers were
in, in Saint Laurent couture,
I took this historical photo,
of a native African man,
wearing feathers in his hair.
Miss Mirabella
did not understand,
and she said, "What have I done
to deserve this?"
It was, fear eats the soul...
And she was fearful of these
feathers on this African man.
And she was not going to have it
in her pages of Vogue.
And I went back to Anna Wintour's
office and she said "Andre,
move on."
I wouldn't be where I am today, if it weren't
for the support of Vogue and Anna Wintour.
I mean, I went there,
Anna Wintour said, "Come with me."
ANNA: What I recall is,
not so much that I was his protector,
but that, to be totally candid,
my fashion history is not so great,
and his was impeccable.
So, I think, I learned a lot
from him.
ANDRE: Graphic,
based on artists,
based on modern art,
based on color.
Graphic, graphic. Big and bold.
John Galliano is the couturier.
And his sensibility
is that of couturier.
This is a fragile poet,
and endangered species in
the fashion world.
ANDRE: I've got wedding chapel
ceremony reception.
Palace, Buckingham.
ANDRE: Fashion should have more
- joie de vivre.
- But why don't we see it on the street?
But, darling, it depends
what street you are walking on.
and going down, and at what time
of day!
The people need mohair
for the fireplace, darling.
I mean, there are ladies who just stoke the
fire with their fabulous couture dresses.
You know, it's Christmas Eve when you
got some lights and some fire, darling.
The yule log, darling. Please.
ANNA: His bombastic personality
and his passion
sweeping through the corridors,
yelling Andreisms...
Saucy, saucy.
Saucy with style.
Gave people energy themselves
and to take risks.
- Why you being so low key?
- KARL: Don't know.
You know if Schiaparelli could do
lobsters for the Duchess of Windsor,
huge, splashy orange lobsters
in like 1939 or something,
Why shouldn't suddenly people be wearing
huge roosters, on evening clothes
Why not?
This is a look.
Oh, this is a look!
John, took a section
in the couture
and it was, you know,
Eskimos were treated like the aristocrats
and the aristocrats
were treated like the serfs.
An aristocrat could be turned
into an Eskimo aristocrat.
BETHANN: Shooing away people from
him when he's at the... in the tents,
when we would go to
the fashion shows,
if I met up with him,
he just was so overwhelmed
by what was...
how it had changed.
SANDRA: Andre walks that line
between, you know, the glamour and the
excitement and he's also bigger than life.
- Ugly?
- No.
- REPORTER: Is ugly kind of a...
- Not at all.
It's a word not to use in your vocabulary.
Hi darling.
But, for him this was something
that was... he lived for.
ANDRE: There are moments in
fashion shows when I cry.
I can see the most beautiful,
beautiful shows of...
uh, Marc Jacobs, when he had
that French locomotive
that big, amazing locomotive.
I can listen to music
and see the dresses coming.
It was just a great moment
for Americans, in Paris.
I can see, uh, the most
beautiful collections of Chanel,
in the Ritz Hotel.
There were two shows and the girls
would come in my room and sleep.
Kate Moss, Shalom and Naomi,
would take naps.
Oh, Naomi was fabulous.
MARC: What makes up Andre and
all that goes on in his head,
that imagination
and the passion,
is that first-hand
primitive connection.
He sat in those shows and looked
through his eyes
and felt the music, the models,
the way they moved.
- Hi.
- You all were fabulous. A big kiss. You were brilliant.
ANDRE: It's about the lifestyle,
it's about the love.
You were fabulous!
And it came through
in the pages of Vogue.
MANOLO: At the time,
a page edited by Andre,
was like, what a printed image
in a magazine should be,
and more than that.
He did embellish...
the unreality.
That is
what magazines should do,
transport you some... move you.
- MAN: Welcome to the archive.
- ANDRE: Hi, Tonne.
ANDRE: Hi, Tonne.
ANDRE: Isn't this great?
Did you know this existed.
- TONNE: The archive, I did.
- ANDRE: Mm-hmm.
- MAN: Andre,
- ANDRE: Mm-hmm.
MAN: do you remember this one?
Cindy, without the helmet,
- we were just blowing that up.
- ANDRE: Oh.
ANDRE: One of my favorite
shoots was with Cindy Crawford.
We made her a rich widow,
going to bury her husband,
and then she went to the
funeral in a bathing suit.
She's walking through
Monte Carlo,
she's got this big black veil.
And, a woman in a veil is
a very special thing.
Jackie Kennedy in a veil.
The veil of Sisi,
the empress of Austria.
And not only funeral veils,
but veils as in Luchino Visconti.
Luchino Visconti, he put women
in veils, everywhere.
I mean, a veil is
a very romantic device,
to convey a kind of elegance,
that is no longer with us.
TONNE: Look at that. I forget that
photograph, actually. Amazing.
And this is... that's why she's
being made up and he snaps,
and look what it becomes,
part of the story.
- That's a great story.
- Mm-hmm. Amazing.
You have to have
a diet of beauty,
you have to hydrate yourself
with beauty
and luxury and style,
whatever that is,
that makes a difference.
Scarlet 'N The Hood,
was a shoot that I did for Vanity Fair.
It's a spoof
on Gone with the Wind.
The blacks are the aristocrats and the...
the white people would be the servants.
And, Naomi Campbell became Scarlet O'Hara
in the most expensive Chanel dress.
John Galliano became a servant
in the house,
and Manolo Blahnik
was a gardener.
GRAYDON: Andre is very good at putting
fashion in a, more of a cultural context.
I mean, I think,
only an African American man
could've pulled
something together like this.
And only somebody like Andre,
could've executed it.
EBONI: Just seeing those photos,
he is making such a statement
about the value of black life.
And about the way black life
has been demeaned, historically.
It is an affirmation that God
is going to turn it around.
And that's a message that only
comes from the black church.
Hello, testing one, two, three.
Talking to the mic.
ANDRE: Hello? Yes. Testing.
Thank you. Cut it off.
TAMRON: Andre is...
a man...
he's like a black superhero.
- You know?
He's fashion, he's elegance.
He's intellectual, he's loving.
So please join me in welcoming,
Andre Leon Talley.
How does it feel to be someone
that's seen as larger than life?
I mean physically, first of all,
- and who you are.
- ANDRE: Well, it's...
You walk in a room,
there's no one going to say,
- is that Sam Jackson?
I think it was the first time they'd
ever seen a black man in Paris,
at the fashion shows,
in a position of importance
and of influence.
You were not on TV
- screaming,
- ANDRE: No.
- injustice, injustice.
- No, no, no.
Why do you think that was
the best strategy?
Oh, it's just the best strategy
because that's the world I moved in.
It was a very sophisticated,
structured world.
And those were, kind of,
the attitudes imposed upon me.
You didn't just go screaming, you
know, after all it was Vogue darling.
Vogue has a certain kind
of level of standards.
- Vogue!
Just the very word,
you say Vogue, you gotta act...
- you gotta stand up, honey.
- Vogue!
- TAMRON: Yes.
It's musical, isn't it? Vogue!
- TAMRON: Yeah.
STEVE: I think Andre Talley
has been...
one of the pioneers.
He helped break down a lot of walls,
and I hope he gets the credit for that.
- Just wanna shake your hand. Love you.
- Hi, lovely.
STEVE: He knew that
the fashion business,
was not necessarily,
acknowledging African Americans in it.
I thought it was just this moment when
I saw you, you're just an inspiration...
WHOOPI: He was like,
the black Rockette,
you know what I mean?
So it's like, person, person,
person, person, what?
Person, person, person, person.
He's the what.
ANNA: I think his life and time
at Vogue, and his seat
in the front row
was super important
in how he saw himself in the...
African American world
and what he represented to them.
ANDRE: You don't make
a loud noise, you don't scream,
you don't get up and say,
"Look, hey, I'm... loud,
I'm black and I'm proud",
you just do it.
And then, it's recognized.
And somehow, it impacts
the culture.
TAMRON: Now, we know him
as Andre Leon Talley.
But, I see the real man.
I see the real... struggle.
ANNA: I think that Andre
had some ambivalence about...
talking about race.
He would, you know, write me
long-hand letters about...
his experiences to do with race.
But, obviously, it was always...
bubbling, I think, under the...
under the surface.
People have said many bad things
about me.
A... uh, a former editor at Women's Wear
Daily, and I will not mention his name
because I respect him enough,
he's still alive.
But one of these great editors
at Women's Wear Daily says,
"You've been in and out
of every designer bed in Paris."
This is when I was working
in Paris for Women's Wear Daily.
And that hit me at home,
so hard, it was so brutal,
that I... that someone thought
that I had been in and out
of every designer bed in Paris.
So what were they calling me? A whore.
And someone also accused me,
that you must've slept with Mrs. Vreeland.
Because, a black man couldn't have
been that close to Mrs. Vreeland
without having had an affair
with her.
And the person is someone
that I love and I thought...
"I'm just gonna let you say that
and I'm gonna just let this ride
because this is really ignorant
and it really is hurtful."
Whether you're serious
about it or not,
I didn't even qualify or quantify the
statement, I just let it... ride over me.
But this is because people think
that you're stereotyped.
If the person says you...
you've slept in and out of every bed,
it's like, you're some black, uh...
black, uh, what do call 'em?
Black buck, you know,
you're some black buck,
sleeping around with people.
You're getting
all this information,
you're getting access
to all these great designers
because you're a black buck
or something.
You can't be close
to Mrs. Vreeland
because you must have gone to bed,
how offensive, how rude and how,
absolutely incredible someone
would have that thought.
I came from
the segregated south,
I had to be well aware of the
things between black and white.
So when a man said I was a... sleeping
in and out of beds at Vogue, the...
Was I a black buck?
No, I was not a black buck.
So, that was like, a stereotype
about slaves, you know.
It was like, oh,
but then they must be,
attractive sexually or something,
it was just ugly and dirty.
So, you know, although I am from
the south
and I really realized
that we had made advances
by the time I got to Vogue,
there were still some moments
like that.
They used to call me,
Queen Kong.
A woman in Saint Laurent, who
used to call me Queen Kong.
I was like an ape.
King Kong, Queen Kong.
They were saying I was
a gay ape Queen Kong.
And, that went on...
and I knew this
from very close friends.
I never confronted her
because, these things I...
and kept them bottled up.
And, uh...
Do you know how much I wish
my grandmother had been alive,
to have seen this?
My grandmother was dead.
People always say,
"How do you do it?
How have you put up
with this world for so long?"
I say, "Through my faith
and my ancestors", you know.
They put up with slavery
for so long.
Voter suppression.
When you see these things
when I was growing up,
when you're seeing these pictures on
the television, they were amazing to me.
Dogs being let out on people.
Fire hoses,
white cops, kicking women...
it all impacted me too.
But I had to move on,
I had to get on with my career.
JOE: There are five days left.
Trump has had the momentum
for the past week.
I still think it's
a two point race,
maybe a three point race.
But, another five days
of momentum,
anything's possible.
- WALKER: Hey, babe.
- ANDRE: Hi!
EBONI: So... so what's going
on, Andre?
I just... here take this,
I have to wait until Tuesday and
I just don't know how I can wait.
I'm waiting for the outcome,
it's just so nerve-wracking.
EBONI: Well are you...
so you'll be there at 6:00 a.m.?
No, I... I voted
in North Carolina, already...
- I did an absentee ballot.
- EBONI: Oh, yes! Yes, yes, yes. Which is a state that needs it.
Yes, in a need. But I... I will not
be up at 6:00 a.m. following the news.
But I will hope to track it
one way or the other.
I just don't know how I'm gonna get through
the weekend and Monday and Sunday...
EBONI: What if
the absolute worst happens?
Well, we'll... we'll...
I'll be out of...
out of communication.
You'll... it'll be weeks
before you can reach me.
It'll be weeks,
absolute weeks.
- WALKER: Here, try that on.
- EBONI: I like that.
ANDRE: Hoo-hoo!
Coo-coo! Cocoon!
- This is gorgeous.
- ANDRE: This is...
WALKER: I love that on you.
- Going to class at Yale, this is the coat, darling.
- Come on, this coat.
I cannot do that coat in black,
that is ridiculous.
You better do it in plaid...
It has to be.
Look at that color on her.
This is gorgeous.
Look at her with the bag.
Tell me anything.
- EBONI: Isn't it fabulous?
- ANDRE: It's fabulous.
- ANDRE: I'd say it's fabulous.
- Oh, my God. You might have to just leave with that coat.
EBONI: How long is the rental?
Um, I have no idea.
We'll discuss that.
- But um because...
- WALKER: We have... actually...
- EBONI: I want, I want this. I don't want to rent this.
- She wants to buy it.
- I want to buy this.
ANDRE: But she's got
to wear this out today.
- Whoosh!
- ANDRE: And into class next week.
'cause this is all...
it's all about Yale.
- WALKER: Work.
- It's all to the deal. It's time to cross the campus
- in this coat.
- WALKER: Whoosh.
- I said so, "Whoosh..."
- Across the green.
- Across the green.
- WALKER: Uh-huh.
- ANDRE: Woosh. With a pair of Manolos.
- EBONI: Yes.
- ANDRE: That coat is amazing, Andre.
- WALKER: (LAUGHS) Yeah now...
- ANDRE: Brother, Andre, this coat is...
- WALKER: Love it, this one...
- Oh! Break the furniture.
REPORTER: Hillary Clinton is set
to cast her vote
in her hometown of Chappaqua,
New York, today.
How confident is Team Clinton,
heading into election day?
YVONNE: Hello, darling?
- You're just in time.
ANDRE: I'm so worried about
the elections, it's...
- I've gotten physically ill.
- YVONNE: Oh, oh no. You'll... it'll be fine.
- It'll be fine.
- YVONNE: It's gonna be fine.
I just had my friend's guru
in Pakistan,
- said y'all can start... you can pop the champagne now.
- WOMAN: It's gonna be okay?
WOMAN: It's gonna be okay, definitely.
ANDRE: Yvonne, I love those.
ANDRE: You should've went
for the red suede though.
- I was thinking about that but...
- Red suede.
YVONNE: Oh. Oh, yeah.
ANDRE: I prefer those to
the gold.
- YVONNE: All right, Andre.
- ANDRE: All right.
- YVONNE: You have talked me into all these shoes.
- Plus, the damage is done.
YVONNE: The candy store,
that's what I call this place.
YVONNE: I will need those
for the inauguration.
Oh, yeah, you need... gonna need
them and you're gonna need them too.
You'll be in the VIP section but I can
tell you, you still gotta walk a long way.
Because I was in the Rotunda for Barack
Obama with Diane von Furstenberg.
And we had to walk
from miles away.
I know, and it's horrible.
and if it's cold.
Have a great time tonight,
And please say to Mrs. Clinton
for me
that we... if I may offend,
if she needs any help with her dress,
- that I'd be happy to help her with her dress.
- I will.
- I'll tell her that.
- I'll be happy.
- You and me, both.
- And tell Chelsea.
- YVONNE: Alright. Bye!
- ANDRE: Bye, Yvonne.
Break a leg tonight.
Oh, get... oh! Get her...
get her in that fabulous outfit.
MIKA: What a night.
This morning, NBC news projects,
Donald Trump,
the President-elect
of the United States.
MALE NEWSCASTER: At this hour,
Trump has 278 electoral votes,
to Hilary Clinton's 218.
MAUREEN: You guys want some
juice or anything? Coffee?
Thank you.
ANDRE: What should I say?
I'm just here
to share my thoughts
on... on the great style of the First...
of the new First Lady.
And I hope that...
I know that some
of you will love it,
and many of you will hate it.
And therefore, I will have,
further exiled myself
into a style gulag, until
the next moment comes along.
Are you using Russian metaphors,
ANDRE: Look how beautiful,
look at the gloves, look at everything.
- It's perfection.
- MAUREEN: Gorgeous.
ANDRE: The elegance is
in her gloves and her shoes.
The more you take away,
the more elegant you are,
which is really
what's she's done.
Beautiful, beautiful!
- ANDRE: Yes.
- Okay, what do you wanna say?
"Melania, has made it an art
of stiletto glide.
And she's walking
with royal confidence."
- MAUREEN: And that's perfect.
- Now, I'm gonna be killed,
- then I'm gonna get hate mail.
- MAUREEN: That's perfect.
Now, do you wanna say
"I'm gonna get killed"?
- I like that.
- Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.
I'm gonna be killed,
I'm gonna be the... my...
Twitter, email and Instagram
and my phone,
will never stop ringing.
Do you wanna say, why?
ANDRE: Because I like the way
Melania Trump is dressed,
this day.
Any thoughts about Trump?
What Trump's wearing?
No, I only have been talking
about Melania Trump here.
PEGGY: Here it goes.
Donald John Trump, do solemnly swear..."
TRUMP: "I, Donald John Trump,
do solemnly swear..."
MAUREEN: Oh, my Gosh.
You must be...
TRUMP: "That I will
faithfully execute..."
ROBERTS: "The office of
President of the United States,
and will to the best
of my ability..."
TRUMP: "And will to the best
of my ability..."
ROBERTS: "Preserve, protect
and defend..."
TRUMP: "Preserve, protect
and defend..."
ROBERTS: "The Constitution
of the United States..."
TRUMP: "The Constitution
of the United States..."
- ROBERTS: "So help me, God."
- TRUMP: "So help me, God."
CATIE: 2009, uh, when Obama
became President,
he wrote to me.
"I was so moved
to see the sea
of 2 million people.
Nancy Pelosi got me great,
I mean, great seats,
right behind the stage.
And he walked out.
And this is a man
who is a great man.
A man full of love,
fearlessness and a scholar.
He will be our Abe Lincoln,
and not just in the gestures
of the Abe Lincoln Bible.
I was so moved, a jolt, a surge
of something went through me,
when he was finally sworn in,
which was such a long trip
to get there."
ANDRE: I think
the most important thing
at a certain age is that
you sit back and you think,
seriously, how you achieved a certain
amount of success in your life.
And you must always look back
on the place
from whence you came.
To go down Mt Sinai road
and to see the beautiful trees,
to see the quiet dignity
in the country,
where I used to go pick
blackberries with my grandmother.
Just, just wonderful memories
of my childhood,
of being at that church,
on that ground, in that yard.
ANDRE: So you used to kill
more snakes in the cemetery?
JOHN: Yeah.
My brother had dug 'em up,
you know, on the bulldozer.
- ANDRE: I...
- Big beds of 'em,
you know, they'd be tangled up,
you know, all wrapped up.
Oh, my goodness.
ANDRE: I was baptized
in the baptismal pool.
And I was very afraid
of the snakes.
BOY: Whoo!
ANDRE: People used
to tell me stories,
of how,
there would be black snakes,
that would fall sleep in the
trees and fall out of the tree.
So, when you hear these stories as a
child, you'll... you'll fear the snakes.
So, where was the water
coming in from?
Right down through that stream.
The stream... the...
that was all concrete...
- Yeah. Uh-huh.
- And there was steps?
ANDRE: Whoo! That's a lot
of history.
ANDRE: Now having had this sort
of neurotic fear of snakes,
I'm not adverse
to wearing snake skin
of any quality.
I always think you have
to just...
keep cultivating
your own garden.
And I hope,
I'm not a dry well, yet.
- ANDRE: What's that?
- WAITRESS: It's germ oats.
Be right back
with your utensils.
Thank you, so much.
This is so boring.
ANDRE: Elizabeth, hi.
It's Mr. Talley, how are you?
I'm doing well, and yourself?
I'm sorry for calling your room
but I'm waiting
for some information you were
supposed to give me two days ago.
The calorie... the calories
in a biscuit.
550 calories, I will never eat
another biscuit again.
All right.
- ELISABETTA: You've lost weight really well.
- Yes, yes.
- Um-hm.
- Thirty-one pounds.
I could have lost more,
if I'd not eaten a biscuit.
- Oh, don't...
- Shh, don't beat myself up.
And I must say, I... I knew
that the biscuit was perhaps
a... sort of a sin
but, it was overly big.
And it is like a rococo cake.
A piece of...
It was like a rococo cake.
It was a puffy biscuit.
From time to time, you also have
to give in to food, but...
- Yes, you love. Yeah, yeah.
- That you love, like a biscuit.
- Yes, the biscuit, yes.
- Right, the biscuit.
The biscuit is linked to, um...
- My childhood. Yes.
- Your... your grandmother and your child...
And uh, childhood.
She loved cooking.
- Oh, it was fabulous.
- Uh-huh.
So what...
what else did your mom...
- your grandmother prepare?
- Cakes.
- Cakes. Every kind of cake.
- Cakes.
Lemon cake, chocolate cake,
coconut cake, pound cake,
fruit cakes for Christmas,
and sweet potato pies.
Oh, okay.
This is my grandmother's house.
I bought it in 1988.
This is the living room
of the house,
where, actually, nobody sits
in, anytime,
except on formal occasions, then I...
it's an homage to Diana Vreeland.
And actually,
the red carpet was chosen trying
to match the red carpet
in her apartment,
where I spent many
wonderful hours.
I tried to create a room that was
somewhat an homage to Diana Vreeland,
and yet, my grandmother could sit
in the room and say it was hers.
And, uh, this room is exactly
as it was,
when my grandmother moved in
and I've not changed it.
She died from leukemia...
uh, in the blood.
But she'd never been sick
for a day in her life.
So, she lived here
for six months.
I miss her. I miss her.
She took very good care of me.
So therefore I'm the person I am
because of my grandmother.
And I said... I would say
I miss her almost every day.
It's bittersweet to be
in this house.
EBONI: It was a sunny day.
But it was so cold outside.
As I had been stranded
in Memphis,
I was unexpectedly drawn
on this day.
To the now, infamous,
Lorraine Motel,
where the reverend,
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr,
just a few years older
than I am today,
would draw his last breaths.
Having been shot down,
like a dog,
as he stood on the balcony.
We've got some difficult days,
The text tells us,
that where there are curses,
there are also blessings.
Where there is death,
there is also life.
Where there is adversity,
there is also prosperity.
Telling us to keep on,
keeping on.
Telling us to keep hope alive.
Telling us
to march together, children,
and don't you get
weary. Telling us,
to sing together, children,
and don't you get weary.
Pray together children,
and don't you get weary.
Dance together, children.
Strategize together, children,
and don't you get weary. Why?
ANDRE: You were extraordinary,
Eboni I'm...
I was sitting there,
holding myself.
And, you know, I thought
of my grandmother.
Because she... she nurtured me
and I... I came from this very
humble beginning in Durham,
- and then I went to New York.
- EBONI: Mm-hmm.
You were speaking
to my grandmother
was a domestic maid
on the west campus.
- Where we were.
- She went every week,
five days a week,
at seven in the morning,
to Duke's west campus
to be a maid...
- Mm-hmm.
- in the boy's dormitory.
When I think of that...
- Mmm.
- it's so powerful.
But, you know, I've lived such
an extraordinary life coming
from the black south,
that this comes from your grace.
This is you.
This is the inner you.
This is who you are.
ANDRE: It's your destiny.
Precious memories
How they linger
We're here at the Dorsey Hotel,
waiting for the departure
of Terry Maglier...
leaving New York,
going back to Paris.
His career, allowed him to say
"I showed you...
That my dream did come true.
I showed you, I can be
what I said I want to be."
ANDRE: I love the boots,
I love the belt.
But the most important thing
I love, is that it's black.
Black is the new red.
Black (CHUCKLES) is back.
It was like magical. I guess if
you look back over the years,
it's magical. I'm sure to Andre
it doesn't seem magical
because it's so much work
to getting to where you wanna be
in life, but...
He got there.
He got there.
REPORTER: Is fashion art?
No, No. Absolutely not.
Is fashion art? No!
Fashion is hard work, gritty,
it's not glamorous...
ANDRE: It's rough, the Chiffon trenches.
It's rough.
I make it look effortless,
sitting on the front row, all those years,
with the attitude,
the sable coat,
the Prada crocodile coats,
the Prada French coats but...
it has been rough.
I couldn't believe
you asked me last night,
what is that in your bag,
like I took drugs.
- I've got a 72 karat ring, like,
- Let me see.
- how many karats are yours?
- I don't know.
He's not all about
the sequins and the embroidery,
and the glitz.
Under it all, is a very fine,
cashmere pure,
cashmere heart.
ANNA: The way he dressed,
the way he would present
himself, you know, the capes
and the kaftans and the...
the gold, and the red, and the jewelry.
I always looked on it
as Andre...
putting on his armor
to present himself to the world.
Whoa, save
Save a secret
Oh! He'll unfold
He'll unfold
What you say now
DIDDY: We might have to give a nod to the godfather.
ANDRE: Oh my God.
Look at you.
Had to give a nod
to the godfather.
But you're giving us futuristic
James Brown moment
on the shoulders.
Oh, oh, oh!
Whoa, oh, oh, oh!
- RIHANNA: See if I can reach.
- You can reach me, of course you can.
- Ooh, you smell so good.
- Thank you.
How did you get in to it?
Did they have a...
a diagram?
Sick and tired of Daddies
Leavin' babies with Their mothers
For every man that wanna
Lay around and play around
- Don't you see like 1940...
- Look.
- Nineteen... Oh...
I know.
- Andre!
- Bootylicious.
I know, bootylicious.
- No, no
- Resolution, a revolution
Come on
Whoa, ho, ho, ho
- Yes, sir. Listen.
- Oh, ho, ho, ho
- Do you want a revolution
- Whoop, whoop
- I say do you want A revolution
- Whoop, whoop
- Come on
- Whoa, oh, oh, oh
- All right, bring out the something.
- Uh...
- All right, now do the... do the reveal.
WENDY: Michael Lee spent
all weekend making that.
- It's your Golden Girls.
- Oh, it's fabulous. Thank you, Wendy!
WENDY: Thank you so much
for being here.
- It's my friend, Andre Leon Talley,
- Oh!
- everybody.
- I will wear it every day, thank you.
Just a box of lumps...
and paper, paper, paper.
Love the leather,
or it could be...
a metro-sexual gym case.
it's a...
it is a picnic set, portable.
Andre Leon Talley is a member
of our church.
He listens carefully
to the sermons.
I don't know if he can sing
or not. I have to watch him
- more closely.
- ANDRE: (LAUGHS) I cannot sing.
That's Mrs. Vreeland,
my mentor.
Oh, she's platinum honor.
I'm platinum so you know
that's major money,
but I am very proud of that.
You hearin' him
Trumpet sounding
Christ, the last, the first,
The first, the last, It won't pass
So don't be caught slippin',
Brother, don't be trippin', Brother
I'm 68...
but some days I feel like
I'm 115.
And other days I feel like I'm 32,
but depends on who I see and meet.
But the most important thing
is um...
just coming home and being
in this beautiful garden,
seeing these beautiful trees,
and just looking at this beautiful nature,
and seeing two rabbits who just
use this property as their home.
The deer I don't like, but the
rabbits, they... it's their home.
The skunks and their uh...
raccoons, no.