André Leon Talley (born October 16, 1949) is the American editor-at-large for Vogue magazine and has been a front-row regular at fashion shows in New York, Paris, London and Milan for more than 25 years. He uses his influence to promote young fashion designers, such as John Saldivar and mentors young talent in other fields as well. His most famous pairings of late have been with designers Tracy Reese, Rachel Roy, and singer/actress Jennifer Hudson. He is known as a very close friend of pop diva Mariah Carey, Kimora Lee Simmons, fashion designer and tennis star Venus Williams. In 2007, he was ranked 45th in Out Magazine’s “50 Most Powerful Gay Men and Women in America”. Talley has an honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Savannah College of Art and Design, where he serves as a member of the Board of Trustees.
Talley was raised in Durham, North Carolina by his grandmother Bennie Davis, who he says gave him an “understanding of luxury.” After graduating from North Carolina Central University, Talley received his master’s degree in French from Brown University. While at Brown, Talley befriended students from the nearby Rhode Island School of Design and often went on weekend trips to New York City. He is associated with former American Vogue editor-in-chief and Costume Institute consultant, Diana Vreeland.
As of November 2009, Talley will be serving on the judging panel for America’s Next Top Model, replacing Miss Jay (Runway Trainer).