TALLEY-ING UP: André Leon Talley has locked in the number-six slot on The New York Times’ bestseller list for hardcover nonfiction with his new memoir.
”The Chiffon Trenches” created a firestorm of publicity in recent weeks, primarily due to Talley’s critique of his former boss, Vogue’s Anna Wintour. The book centers on his storied career, but it also addresses other aspects of his life like sexual abuse, weight struggles and ageism. Consumer interest in the book was so strong that his publisher Ballantine moved up the release date to May 19 from September and greenlighted a second run before it was officially out. The strategy seems to have worked, given Talley’s swift ascent to the bestseller list. Glennon Doyle ranked first for “Untamed,” followed by Michelle Obama for “Becoming.”
Talley’s recent interviews with Gayle King on “CBS This Morning” and Tamron Hall on her eponymous talk show surely helped to sell a few books. But Talley said he was still surprised to make the bestseller list in seven days.
“Thrilled but kind of stunned by the whole thing,” Talley said, adding the accolade has been “somewhat distilled by this whole horror that has happened in Minneapolis [referring to the death of George Floyd and recent riots]. Not just that horror but the horror of Eric Garner, I can’t breathe, Black Lives Matter…I am very concerned with this situation where they are burning down buildings and taking to the streets with COVID-19. A looter was shot dead last night.”
Referring to Floyd, Talley said, “This is just systemic of the world we live in. The video — I have no words.”
After reading an article in The Daily Mail that listed Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey’s hotline, Talley said he left two messages and e-mailed Naomi Campbell and other friends at 7 a.m. asking them to do the same. “We have to be conscious of this. We have to be a collective people. This is an important part of my book. As I say, advocacy is quiet but when I found that phone number, I called, I left a message and my name. And I called back,” said Talley, adding that a third attempt resulted in an automatic busy signal.
Racism is another issue the author addresses in “The Chiffon Trenches.” The story of his life may find a larger audience. In talks with four parties, including Tribeca Films’ Jane Rosenthal, to develop a streaming series based on the book. Talley said, “We’ve had four big offers. We are talking but nothing has been finalized. We’re still working on negotiating it — pinning it down, pinning it down.”
In the meantime, Paris Match and The Irish Independent have interviews with Talley in the works, even though the memoir is not yet out in France or Ireland.