Back in 2020, André Leon Talley had just released his memoir, The Chiffon Trenches—and in conversation with W, he proudly stated that he had a photographic memory. “I’ve never had a diary in my life,” he said. “Everything is in my head. I’ve never taken a note on a front row of a fashion show in my entire career. I can remember things that happened to me long ago: things impressed me, and therefore, I have retained them.” Two years later, in January 2022, the tastemaker, author, academic, and trailblazing journalist passed away at 73 years old. While he may not have left much in the way of diaries, he did leave behind a stunning collection of fine art, furniture, jewelry and—of course—haute couture.
That treasure trove of ephemera will soon be on sale at Christie’s New York auction house. From January 27 to February 17, the public will be able to purchase items from Talley’s personal collection, which is being offered by the late fashion editor’s estate. Proceeds will benefit establishments that were near and dear to Talley during his lifetime—the Abyssinian Baptist Church in the City of New York and the Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church in Durham, North Carolina. Among the items on offer: a set of three Louis Vuitton trunks monogrammed with Talley’s initials; a pair of gripoix glass and gilt metal cuff bracelets by Chanel; signed illustrations of Talley by Karl Lagerfeld; and a flowing, silk faille tiered cape (André Leon Talley’s signature look), also by Chanel.
Further lots include works by Andy Warhol, a trio of Bottega Veneta sunglasses, and pieces that were gifted to Talley by his extensive network of fashion friends: Lagerfeld, Miuccia Prada, and Ralph Rucci among them. The late editor’s personal collection will travel around the world: a selection will debut in Palm Beach this January, followed by a trip to Paris between January 23 and 26. The full collection will then be auctioned live at Christie’s New York on February 15, followed by two online sales ending on February 17. Talley’s things provide a window into his extraordinary mind and aesthetic vision—as well as a peek into his fabulous lifestyle. “I can remember everything and every experience that I’ve had with people that I adore,” Talley told W. “I do have the gift of memory. I’m lucky.”