The Chiffon Trenches: André Leon Talley’s bitchy, enjoyable memoir of half a century of excess

The long-time creative director at Vogue recounts the high life he lived around fashion

 Bozoma Saint John and André Leon Talley: Vogue in Paris paid for his apartment, his restaurant and dry-cleaning bills, and a personal assistant who doubled as his on-call driver. Photograph: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

Bozoma Saint John and André Leon Talley: Vogue in Paris paid for his apartment, his restaurant and dry-cleaning bills, and a personal assistant who doubled as his on-call driver. Photograph: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

Oh my. Where to begin with this account of the journey of André Leon Talley’s gilded life, accompanied at all times by swathes of Louis Vuitton luggage? Talley, a long-time creative director at Vogue, worked in fashion and glossy magazines his entire adult life, and at 71 still has a bespoke designer shoe in the game.

The Chiffon Trenches recounts half a century of excess in almost every non-essential area of life, which is what makes it such a bitchy and enjoyable read, even if I did need a lie-down afterwards. After all, it’s hard to be a journalist slumming it in 2020 and cycling around town to assignments (me), when Talley’s employers, Condé Nast and other magazines, routinely paid for his “town car” and driver in New York and Paris for years.

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