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From Chanel to Prada, Andre Leon Talley’s extraordinary collection finds a stage at Christie’s

In a tribute to the legendary persona that Andre Leon Talley was, Christie’s unveils iconic pieces from legendary Vogue Editor’s private collection of haute couture, haute joallerie, limited edition bags and art pieces

The pioneering Vogue magazine editor, André Leon Talley, passed away on January 18, 2022, leaving a huge gap in the fashion industry. His legacy of extraordinary work with top creatives from the fashion industry across the world is unmatched till today.

Portrait of Andre Leon Talley
A portrait of Andre Leon Talley.  

Born in 1948 in Washington D.C., and raised during the racial segregation imposed by Jim Crow, Mr. Talley was the first coloured person to helm the post of Creative Director of Vogue US Magazine. His humble beginnings transformed into a larger-than-life grandness which he achieved through sheer hard work, a penchant for chicness and a determination to be unique.

A great admirer of fashion and art pieces that embodied a high degree of intellect, Mr. Talley’s unparalleled collection includes a number of pieces offered to him by Karl Lagerfeld, Miuccia Prada and Ralph Rucci among other notable designers. He is also known for his close collaboration with Anna Wintour for many decades. His extraordinary collection is an homage to his early mentors such as LaQuan Smith and Diane Von Furstenburg.

Diana Vreeland and Andre Leon Talley

Diana Vreeland and Andre Leon Talley.

Andy Warhol Diana Vreeland
Andy Warhol’s ‘Diana Vreeland Rampant’.  

The collection, now on offer by Christie’s, includes 115 haute couture pieces, predominantly between the era of 1970s – 1990s, by design icons such as Karl Lagerfeld, Dapper Dan, and more. Walking among them in Paris, during an exhibition, I could feel I was meandering between history. In awe of all the creations, the creators of many of which are no longer among us, I could almost feel the unabashed magnificence that Mr. Talley was known for.

Treasures abound. A Chanel Amethyst Geode Pendant Necklace designed as an oversized cross, set with four amethyst geodes suspends from an oval link chain mounted in gilt metal ($6000 – 8000). Historical photographs, and artworks by Karl Lagerfeld and Andy Warhol, remind you of an era when art, fashion and modern cultural ideas were blooming.

Andre Leon Talley Andy warhol Bianca Jagger

Andre Leon Talley, Andy Warhol & Bianca Jagger at her birthday party in 1981.

Manolo Blahnik sandals
A pair of reptile skin and red silk embellished evening shoes by Manolo Blahnik.  

Elisabeth Siegel, Director of the private and iconique collection, Christie’s New York, said, “The sensibility of André Leon Talley for fashion was singular and timeless. We are beyond thrilled to steward this group of objects from his homes, a selection that showcases Talley’s endless love for all-things beautiful. From monogrammed Louis Vuitton trunks, to custom Tom Ford caftans, each lot is imbued with meaning and linked to his larger-than-life persona and legacy, which continue to inspire us all.”

Mr. Talley worked very closely with the house of Christie’s for a number of projects. Alexis Thomas, his will executor said, “André Leon Talley was a dear friend. He was an intellectual. He dedicated his life to social justice. He was a pioneer who took a fresh and innovative look at the leading creators and personalities of the black community. André considered his collection of beautiful objects, steeped in fashion history, as a legacy to be passed on. It is an honor to ensure that this sale will benefit the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York and Mount Sinai Missionary Baptist Church in Durham. As the collection is unveiled in a world touring exhibition, we hope to bring some of the magic of Andre Leon Talley into the lives of all those who have long admired him.”

Karl Lagerfeld and Andre Leon Talley
Karl Lagerfeld’s ‘Andre and Karl’.  

The auction house collaborated with Aline Asmar D’Amman, a renowned architect and founder of “Culture in Architecture”, to present his dynamique and historically rich private collection in Paris. Ms. Amman said, “I was stunned by the richness of this private collection that traces the bridge between the cultures, throwing light on the exceptional Savoir Faire of the Parisienne Haute Couture. The eccentricity and carefree images of 80’s and 90’s dressed in these iconic pieces inspired a soaring and effervescent staging, crossed with an idea of the art lover’s chic, brought them together.”

Other notable art pieces includes Portrait of André Leon Talley by Kim Cole Moore, estimated to be $5000 – 7000$, an unsigned Chanel Amethyst Geode and Gripoix Glass Brooch ($2000 – 3000) and a rectangular shaped 60-62 Carats blue topaz and multi gem ring in 18k white gold which is estimated to be $3000 – 5000.

Brocade kaftan by Dapper Dan
A gold brocade caftan by Dapper Dan from 2007.  

Mr. Talley published A.L.T.: A Mémoire, in 2003, through which he expressed his roller coaster ride from early childhood to becoming one of the most influential fashion figures of our century. The acronym ALT can be seen graved in his custom-made brown monogram lacquered Louis Vuitton Suitcases from circa 1990, which is estimated to be $3000 – 4000.

LV Suitcases with ALT
Louis Vuitton suitcases personalised to have ‘A.L.T.’  

A complete antithesis to current fashion trends, with his flamboyance on display, the incredible collection by Andre Leon Talley will be sold in a live sale on February 15, and an online sale until February 16. This collection brings us back to the thought that fashion was never meant to be minimalist. It was never meant to ‘merge’ you with the crowd. It was meant to define you, to identify you. Mr. Talley’s philosophy, his presence, will be missed.

Hermes bicycle
A gold leather Le Flaneur Bicycle by Hermes, circa 1994.  

To browse through and bid for the lots, visit the Christie’s website.