André Leon Talley, Fashion's Last Great Editor

There is a scene early in “The September Issue,” the 2009 documentary about the making of the year’s door-stopper Vogue magazine, that features a meeting between the designer Vera Wang, dressed down in a striped shirt and no makeup, and, like a character from an entirely different movie set, the editor André Leon Talley: very tall, very imposing, in dark glasses, silk tie and bespoke suit, swathed in a mink shawl. They are discussing the state of New York fashion.

“It is a famine of beauty,” Mr. Talley enunciates with an air of great tragedy. In case she didn’t understand the weight of his words, he repeated them: “A famine

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