ANDRÉ ON DEMAND: After André Leon Talley kicked off a firestorm of publicity last week with his memoir “The Chiffon Trenches: A Memoir,” the book’s publisher Ballantine has moved up the release date to May 19 from September.
Originally slated to hit stores this week, last month the book’s debut was shelved until the fall due to the COVID-19 shutdown. Recent media coverage — much of which described in detail the great divide between Talley and his former boss Anna Wintour — upended that plan, after consumers’ interest ramped up. Copies of Talley’s tome had already been scheduled to be printed this month. A spokeswoman for Penguin Random House, of which Ballantine is a division, declined to comment about projected sales Tuesday.
Talley’s decades-long career in fashion also included volunteering at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, and posts at Women’s Wear Daily, Vanity Fair and Andy Warhol’s Factory. By his account, Talley has dealt with ageism, racism and weight discrimination. “People have done things to me that I have forgiven them for. There are things in the book that you can’t imagine — the racism, everything. You don’t even understand how much I’ve gone through to get to be 71 years old and I hope that I will live a long time,” Talley said.
The book is dedicated to his “dear friend” Lee Radziwill and his pastor at the Abyssinian Baptist Church, Calvin O. Betts 3rd. Talley addressed childhood traumas and weight issues in the memoir. He told WWD last week, “When I sit back and think of the riches of my life, I just wanted to share some of the great moments of my life as well as the struggles.”
In recent days, though, the Talley-related headlines have been all about his severed ties with Wintour and his blistering portrayal of her. Talley said he sent Wintour, who is American Vogue’s editor in chief, Condé Nast’s U.S. artistic director and global content adviser, a galley of the book in January and made a few changes that she had requested.
Her potential reaction to the book was a question that his Ballantine editor Pamela Cannon posed last summer to Talley. In last week’s interview, Talley said his response was, “‘Yeah, why wouldn’t she?’”
Talley said he had no plans to reach out to Wintour. “The ball is in her court,” he said Friday.
”I think people are riveted by this because Anna Wintour is on everybody’s brain waves because she is a very powerful human being. Perhaps they are perplexed or mystified by me, my relationship to Vogue, how did I land at Vogue, why am I not at Vogue now, what’s going on…,” he said. “People are so fascinated by this because she is a very, very powerful woman as with ‘The Devil Wears Prada.’ She managed to be more than an icon. She is a world figure.”