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”It was quiet in Balducci’s, with only the sounds of cash registers pinging and a few shoppers chatting as they hunched over coffee and croissants. “Just last night, I went to dinner with my friend Gloria von Thurn und Taxis, and she had her gloves on, because her husband taught her to wear them,” declared Talley.But Talley’s voice, with its Pavarotti-like range and unique timbre, rang out at times like a bugle, the kind once used to command soldiers to charge on the battlefield—though Talley tends to use his instrument to tell women what to wear. “She has drawers and drawers of gloves, some in leather, some in cloth.”In fact, he explained, he had just met with Ms.But instead he has lived in nearby White Plains, a bedroom community with a ring of 1920s homes around an ugly downtown and housing projects, for the last 15 years. A., says, “At one point, André could have lived in Manhattan, in a huge loft in Tribeca, or an apartment uptown—but now I don’t know where he would put the rooms and rooms and rooms of clothes.”At Balducci’s, Talley—who is six feet six inches, with giant brown eyes, a large mouth which reveals a Lauren Hutton-esque space between his front teeth, and a perpetually furrowed brow—wore an XXXL pink polo shirt as he pushed a shopping cart down the narrow aisles.He describes his house, though, as a thing of beauty, surrounded on all sides by forest, and with a living room furnished with the sofa that once graced Truman Capote’s legendary United Nations Plaza apartment. After he had paid for a remarkably restrained list of items that included coleslaw, shredded cheese, and gluten-free cookies, he took a seat in the grocery’s cafeteria area, filled with plastic tables and chairs.It’s code for the minute that a dress, or an element of design, becomes an image held aloft in the minds of the few individuals whose opinions in fashion matter.Talley talks about the “moment” that Lady Amanda Harlech wrapped the white suede Manolo Blahniks that he had given her as a present with some bandages of black jersey; the “moment” that model Carolyn Murphy is having right now as she engineers her comeback, since models in their 30s and 40s with personality are now popular; and the “moment” of Pauline de Rothschild’s funeral, in the mid-1970s.
One of his best friends, George Malkemus III, the C. I asked them if I could please have one of their cakes to bring to her house, and they told me I was too late with my order!” He put a gigantic hand on the table, and the plastic trembled a bit.“Can you imagine, saying they could not make one extra cake? He cites Michelle Obama with her seagrass-green gloves at the first inaugural, and Beyoncé with the sequined gloves zipped to the shoulder of her Givenchy dress at last year’s Met gala; Jackie O and her elbow-length opera gloves; churchgoing black women, like Talley’s grandmother, who emulated Jackie’s style and kept a drawer just for their glazed kidskin gloves; and of course his own gloves, the black crocodile ones and Prada alligators.In the 70s, Talley dressed as a New Romantic, wearing Karl Lagerfeld hand-me-down crêpe de Chine oversize shirts with the three-ply matching mufflers in black and grass green and Ultrasuede jackets Halston handed to him.In the 80s, he was about Perry Ellis tartan coats and Miuccia Prada custom-made alligator ones in nearly every color—before turning in the 90s to Chanel jackets made for him, with the same weighted chains a woman has in hers. He says that Marc Jacobs’s wearing a black lace dress to the 2012 Met gala was a “release” that allowed him to feel good about wearing flowing garments, even in the daytime.