André Leon Talley, the author and journalist who has been at the forefront of fashion in recent decades, has died at the age of 73. New York Times reports

Talley grew up in North Carolina, the era of segregation, and attended North Carolina Central University and Brown University. He started his career in journalism in the 1970s with jobs at InterviewDaily Women’s Clothingand W Magazines.

In 1983 he joined the staff of Fashion, where he would work for 30 years. He was the magazine’s first black creative director and worked as editor-in-chief until 2013.

Talley wrote two memoirs: ALTOpublished in 2013, and The trenches of chiffonpublished in 2020. A critic of Kirkus called the latter book “a heartfelt and often eyebrow-raising memoir, perfect for armchair fashionistas or high-fashion insiders.”

Talley’s admirers paid tribute to him on social media. “The elegant giant of fashion has fallen”, wrote Mary Carey. “Emancipated from the problems of this world. Land softly and safely my friend in the loving arms of Almighty God. Rest in strength and grace, Andre Leon Talley.”

And Michelle Obama tweeted“André Leon Talley was a unique presence who changed the face of fashion and beauty for a generation of girls like me. He will be missed, but I know his legacy will continue to inspire people for years to come.”

Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and a regular contributor to NPR.