After falling in love with fashion around the age of ten, Talley would inevitably pursue his dreams. In 1974, he first began an unpaid apprenticeship for Diana Vreeland at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which soon led to a job at Andy Warhol’s Interview, earning $50 a week.
Doing the same for emerging designers of color, Talley pushed for placements for brands such as Issey Miyake and Comme des Garçons early on, later mentoring designers like LaQuan Smith. The editor even introduced Michelle Obama to Taiwanese-Canadian designer Jason Wu, whose dress she later wore to the 2009 Presidential Inauguration.
He also became a successful published author, writing The Gospel According to André, and co-authoring Mega-Star with Richard Bernstein. Later, his memoir The Chiffon Trenches, would make the New York Times Best Seller list. The journalist was also featured in documentaries such as The September Issue and The First Monday in May.