Friday 29 May 2020

The Golf Match

Back to the 30's golf attire ?  YES Please !!


“Standard Dress Code Policy – Proper golf attire is required at all times for all players and riders to include both collared and/or tailored collarless shirts for men and recognized golf fashion for women. Golf shoes with soft spikes or athletic shoes required. T-shirts, swimwear, tank tops, jeans or cut-offs are not golf appropriate attire.”

Knicker(bockers) in a knot: The ‘Attire’ debate on the golf course
By Richard Fellner on April 30, 2012

Players like Aaron Cox aren't afraid to push the fashion boundaries. But is this practice good for the game?

From the early days of the plus-fours and ruffled cravats, to today’s bright colours and plaid ensembles, golf and fashion have long been intertwined.

That’s not to say that golf fashion has necessarily been “fashionable”. Just look at golf photos from the 1970s (or some of the blokes on tour today) and you’ll get my drift.

Attire on the golf course has been a contentious subject of late. The Inside Golf mailbag and inbox are full of letters decrying the “imminent demise of Neat and Tidy”, while last month’s cover photo of a “scruffy looking” Aaron Baddeley even got a fair amount of unhappy reader letters (see page 87).

In the continuing struggle to retain members, and attract the ever-important junior contingent, some clubs are beginning to relax the traditional dress codes. White socks and collared shirts still reign supreme, but it seems that more clubs are starting to “turn a blind eye” to the more creatively-attired players these days. It’s a neon-coloured grey area.

There are two sides to the argument. Traditionalists argue that the standards of Neat and Tidy attire MUST be adhered to in order to preserve the traditions and essence of the game. They contend that if we relax the dress codes – even a smidgeon– then the entire game may spin out of control into the equivalent of a no-holds-barred, “golfers gone wild” frat party.

On the other side of the fairway are those who claim that the game is entrenched in old-fashioned, elitist attitudes and antiquated traditions that have little appeal to the younger generations. They say that if we fail to capture the kids’ attention, the game will dwindle in popularity until it is equal in regard to, say Olympic Trampoline.

Dress codes in nearly all sports have regularly adapted to the times. From the AFL, to (Twenty20) Cricket, to American baseball to the NBA… uniforms have regularly reflected the fashion and styles of the younger generations. It’s seen by some as a “necessary evil” in order to ensure the survival of the sports.

Golf is no different. I’m sure there was a similar outcry centuries ago when a small band of golfers eschewed their kilts and animal skins to don (heaven forbid) ties, knickerbockers and morning coats. And what about those heathens in the 1920s who (gasp) stopped wearing formal jackets on the links? Or the “Free-thinkers” with the radical concept of NOT tucking their long pants inside their socks; or those who wore bowties, V-neck sweaters and even (double-gasp) short pants!

When you think about it, today’s accepted “Neat and Tidy” attire – namely the short-sleeve collared shirts, pleated shorts and golf caps – would have golfers of the 1900’s covering their niblicks in shame.

I’m not saying that we need to allow singlets and budgie smugglers on the course – on the contrary, I firmly believe that young golfers and beginners need to respect the traditions and the culture (and attire) of the game. But if we really want to keep our game alive, surely we can open up our minds a little, and maybe let our white socks drop a bit? There is certainly a compromise out there.

See you on the fairways (in a collared shirt, of course).


NO !!

YES !!

YES !!

Wednesday 27 May 2020

Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich | VIDEO: Official Trailer | Netflix

Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich is an upcoming American television miniseries about a convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. The miniseries is based on the 2016 book of the same name by James Patterson, and co-written by John Connolly with Tim Malloy. Filthy Rich is scheduled to release on May 27, 2020.
Filthy Rich tells a stories of the survivors of Jeffrey Epstein, and how he used his wealth and power to commit these crimes.[1]

1             "Hunting Grounds"          Lisa Bryant          May 27, 2020
2             "Follow the Money"       Lisa Bryant          May 27, 2020
3             "The Island"       Lisa Bryant          May 27, 2020
4             "Finding Their Voice"     Lisa Bryant          May 27, 2020

The miniseries was based on the 2016 book Filthy Rich: A Powerful Billionaire, the Sex Scandal that Undid Him, and All the Justice that Money Can Buy: The Shocking True Story of Jeffrey Epstein written by James Patterson, and co-written by John Connolly with Tim Malloy. Filthy Rich was announced prior to Epstein's death.

'It's outrageous': inside an infuriating Netflix series on Jeffrey Epstein

Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich synthesizes legal information with first-person testimony of the billionaire’s abuse and bought immunity into a shocking watch

Adrian Horton
Wed 27 May 2020 16.13 BSTLast modified on Wed 27 May 2020 17.23 BST

It’s difficult to watch Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich, a four-hour Netflix series on the now-deceased convicted sex offender without a choking sense of outrage. How many girls had to suffer to get attention? How perversely twisted is the American justice system that a Gatsby-esque billionaire, friends with such powerful figures as Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew and Donald Trump, a longstanding donor to Harvard and MIT, could buy his way out of an almost certain life sentence for child sex abuse and trafficking?

Filthy Rich arrives, of course, less than a year after Epstein, 66, died, officially by suicide, in a New York jail last August. “There’s no justice in this,” Shawna Rivera, speaking publicly for the first time about Epstein’s alleged abuse starting when she was 14, says in the final episode. “There was just so much more to be said that will never be said.”

There is, however, much to be learned from the sordid, winding, thwarted path to Epstein’s eventual arrest on sex trafficking charges in July 2019. Filthy Rich doesn’t so much break new ground as synthesize the abundance of information with the visceral impact of first-person testimony on Epstein’s crimes – stories of predation, self-doubt and shame by numerous survivors betrayed by the justice system supposed to protect them. Epstein’s decades-long legal saga is “the biggest example I’ve ever seen of somebody using their money and influence to thwart reporting on the subject and to work out an outrageous deal,” Joe Berlinger, an executive producer, told the Guardian.

Production on Filthy Rich began before Epstein became a household name – before his death, before his shock arrest, before a 2018 Pulitzer-winning investigation by the Miami Times-Herald into the sweetheart plea deal negotiated by federal prosecutors to keep Epstein out of prison. “The level of incompetence and back-door dealing that allowed him to get off – no one on this production thought he would ever be arrested during the making of the show,” said Berlinger, who first began work on an Epstein project in spring 2018, after he received a copy of mystery novelist James Patterson’s 2016 true crime book on the reclusive billionaire (and neighbor in Palm Beach).

The book “infuriated me”, Berlinger said, especially since, in 2018, “people were afraid to tell this story.”

Convincing women to speak on the record “was hard”, director Lisa Bryant said. “Some people wouldn’t talk at all, some numbers were wrong, some decided they just weren’t ever going to talk, for various reasons. Some hadn’t even told their parents about it.” The case of Epstein was never a he-said, she-said situation; to quote the retired Palm Beach police chief Michael Reiter in the Herald’s original story: “This was 50-something ‘shes’ and one ‘he’ – and the ‘shes’ all basically told the same story.”

But Epstein’s intimidation factor was strong, and many of the survivors, their justice thwarted by the plea deal and Epstein’s subsequent immunity, had moved on with their lives. “Yes, there was a pattern that he had, but each person’s experience with that and how they handled it is different,” said Bryant. “This is their story to tell, their narrative. We wanted this to be told through their eyes.”

The series revolves around the various experiences of the survivors, dating back to at least 1996, when the painter Maria Farmer and her teenage sister, Annie, contacted the FBI to allege molestation by Epstein and his ex-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell. It went nowhere. Years later, in 2005, Palm Beach police launched an investigation into an alleged sex ring run out of Epstein’s beachside mansion, in which Epstein and Maxwell allegedly coerced high-school girls – most of them around 14, in vulnerable circumstances and needing money – into sex acts under the pretense of a “massage” for $200. Maxwell has denied any involvement. The alleged crimes expanded even further, as favorites were allegedly trafficked to rich and powerful friends for parties at Epstein’s $77m Upper East Side mansion in New York, at a London townhouse, and on Epstein’s private island in the Caribbean.

Some survivors featured in the series are speaking on camera for the first time; others, such as Virginia Giuffre, have been advocating for justice for years. Giuffre alleges in and out of the documentary that she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew, who has denied the allegations and queried the veracity of a photo that exists of him with his arm around her aged 18, with a smiling Maxwell in the background.

Given witness testimony in the series by a former Epstein employee who alleges he saw the prince engaged in poolside “foreplay” with a topless Giuffre on Epstein’s island, Andrew’s defense and lack of cooperation with prosecutors reads even more shabbily here. Andrew says he has “no recollection” of meeting Giuffre.

The show stokes justifiable outrage through each survivor’s account, retracing how the Palm Beach police department’s investigation was bumped up to the FBI, and was then derailed by a “non-prosecution agreement” the Herald called “the deal of a lifetime.” Signed in 2008, the deal – brokered by state attorney and later Trump labor secretary Alex Acosta and Epstein’s all-star team of lawyers, including OJ Simpson defender Alan Dershowitz (the only Epstein acolyte to attempt a defense in the series) – was controversially sealed and kept private from the accusers. It offered Epstein and named and unnamed co-conspirators immunity from federal criminal charges; instead, he pleaded guilty to two prostitution charges in state court, and served 11 of 13 months in Palm Beach jail, out six days a week on “work release”.

“He was still seeing girls, he was still making money, he was still conducting business – I mean, it’s just outrageous,” said Berlinger of Epstein’s “incarceration”. Epstein’s elusion of justice for another decade demonstrated how the American criminal justice system “was built for money and power and political gain”, said Bryant. “And we see that over and over again in this case.”

The series also addresses, but does not endorse, conspiracy theories on the cause of Epstein’s death; the medical examiner ruled a suicide by hanging, though an outside expert hired by Epstein’s brother raised unsubstantiated doubts, citing an unusual neck fracture. “I think it’s up for debate, and for people to look at the evidence both ways and make their own decisions,” said Bryant.

“There was nothing that we turned up that would definitively support the idea that he was murdered,” said Berlinger, “but we certainly felt [the theories] should be touched upon.” Personally, Berlinger said: “I do believe it was suicide.”

Epstein’s death denied survivors’ their true day in court, though several did speak at a posthumous hearing. There remains the possibility of prosecuting those linked to Epstein: perhaps Maxwell, whose whereabouts remain unknown and who recently sued Epstein’s estate – the fund supposed to compensate victims – for her legal fees. “I firmly believe and hope that the survivors will get that money,” said Bryant, and that statutes of limitations are reconsidered given greater understanding of childhood sexual trauma, the length and difficulty of processing enough to speak publicly.

For the survivors, said Berlinger, “the ultimate closure would be for everyone who enabled this sick lifestyle and everyone who enabled a wealthy white person with power and influence to have a different standard of justice to also be held to account.”

Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich is now available on Netflix

You've read the Jeffrey Epstein headlines, now get the full story. The world's bestselling author, James Patterson, has written the definitive book on the billionaire pedophile at the center of the newly unsealed federal sex crimes case.
Jeffrey Epstein rose from humble origins into the New York City and Palm Beach elite. A college dropout with an instinct for numbers -- and for people -- Epstein amassed his wealth through a combination of access and skill. But even after he had it all, Epstein wanted more. That unceasing desire -- and especially a taste for underage girls --resulted in sexual-abuse charges, to which he pleaded guilty and received a shockingly lenient sentence.
Included here are police interviews with girls who have alleged sexual abuse by Epstein, as well as details of the investigation against him.

Tuesday 26 May 2020



Did you know the style dates back to Norway in the early 1930s?

After learning his shoemaking skills in America, Norwegian Nils Gregoriusson Tveranger designed a new slip-on shoe. Called the Aurland moccasin is was also knows as the Aurland shoe.

Nils Gregoriussen Tveranger

Taking inspiration from the moccasin shoes worn by native Indians in North America, and the simple slip-ons on the feet of Norwegian fishermen, the first design was born.

Popularity grew and export orders were sent across Europe and America. Esquire magazine even featured an article with photographs of Norwegian farmers wearing the shoe in cattle loafing sheds.

Soon after, the Spaulding family of New Hampshire, USA, began manufacturing a similar shoe, called The Loafer. This name later became a generic term used to describe a slip-on, moccasin shoe.

In 1934, G. H. Bass made his first version of the loafer which he called Weejuns. This appears to be a play on words on the origin of the original designer - Norwegian. A distinctive feature of this new design was a strip of leather stitched across the saddle of the shoe, featuring a shaped cutout.

In 1950s America before trainers were invented, the Weejun became the shoe of choice for young men and students. It became fashionable to keep a dime in the half moon cut out slot of the leather strip. This eventually gave the shoes their colloquial name of Penny Loafer, which is still used today.

A bespoke shoe company based in London that was established in 1847 developed the first loafer as a country house shoe for the landed gentry and the royal family. The "Wildsmith Loafer" made by Raymond Lewis Wildsmith of Wildsmith Shoes, was designed for King George VI as a casual house shoe. The shoe has subsequently been marketed and sold by other London shoe firms and dubbed "the Harrow".

Shoemaker Nils Gregoriusson Tveranger (1874–1953) in Aurland, Norway, introduced his first design around 1908. Tveranger obtained protection for the design. N. Tveranger obtained a diploma at the Bergen exhibition in 1910 for his "Aurland shoe".The first Aurland shoes were also made with laces and a decorative upper side similar to the brogue shoe. Colors were initially natural until approximately 1960 when they were also painted black. At age 13 Tveranger went to North America where he learned the craft of shoemaking and returned to Norway age 20. Around 1930, Tveranger introduced a new design called the "Aurland moccasin", later renamed the "Aurland shoe". This design resembles the moccasins used by the Iroquois as well as the design of moccasin-like shoes traditionally worn by locals in Aurland. These traditional shoes resembled slippers and were useful outdoor in fine weather. In 1936 the local shoe handcraft in Aurland was described as a "very old industry" and shoes were sold in large numbers to foreign visitors.[A 1953 catalogue listed about 10 shoe factories in the small village of Aurland.When exported the USA the Aurland shoes were called "Norwegian Moccasins". The Norwegians began exporting them to the rest of Europe, where they were taken up by visiting Americans, and championed by the American Esquire magazine. Some photographs included with the Esquire feature were of Norwegian farmers in a cattle loafing area.The Spaulding family in New Hampshire started making shoes based on this design in the early 1930s, naming them loafers, a general term for slip-on shoes which is still in use in America. In 1934, G.H. Bass (a bootmaker in Wilton, Maine) started making loafers under the name Weejuns (sounding like Norwegians).The distinctive addition was a strip of leather across the saddle with a diamond cut-out. Initially only worn in the summer at home, the shoe grew in popularity in America to become a significant part of men's casual shoe wardrobe; in Europe the style has never reached the same degree of ubiquity.

The term penny loafer has uncertain beginnings. One explanation is when American prep school students in the 1950s, wishing to make a fashion statement, took to inserting a penny into the diamond-shaped slit on their Weejuns. Another theory is that two pennies could be slipped into the slit, enough money to make an emergency phone call in the 1930s. This, however, is an urban legend, as pay phone calls in the USA have never been less than five cents, nor have the pay phones ever accepted pennies. Either way, the name penny loafer came to be applied to this style of slip-on and has since stuck. The practice continues, especially among those who remain committed to a classic and refined but still scholarly appearance, such as lawyers.

In the mid-1950s, further continental influences brought a more elegant image to light, lower-cut slip-ons, which moved from purely casual use to being paired with suits in the 1960s (but still only in America). In 1966, Italian designer Gucci made the further step of adding a metal strap across the front in the shape of a horse's snaffle bit. These Gucci loafers (now a general term referring to shoes of this style by any manufacturer) also spread over the Atlantic and were worn by 1970s businessmen, becoming almost a Wall Street uniform, reaching widespread use by the 1980s.

At the start of the twenty-first century, a revival of penny loafers, whose popularity had peaked during the mid to late 1960s and again during the early 1980s to early 1990s,[citation needed] occurred, with the shoe appearing in a more rugged version, closer to the original concept, as either moccasins, or espadrilles, both of these styles being very low or flat without heels. This resurgence was most noticeable at college campuses across America.

Another variation on the basic style is the tassel loafer, which emerged in the 1950s. Again, though casual, their gradual acceptance among the American East Coast prep school culture as equivalent to brogues (wingtips), has led to them being worn there with suits, where they gained an association with business and legal classes.

Saturday 23 May 2020

“The Chiffon Trenches by André Leon Talley: / VIDEO:Everything You Need to Know | E! News

From the pages of Vogue to the runways of Paris, this deeply revealing memoir by a legendary style icon captures the fashion world from the inside out, in its most glamorous and most cutthroat moments.

“The Chiffon Trenches honestly and candidly captures fifty sublime years of fashion.”—Manolo Blahnik

During André Leon Talley’s first magazine job, alongside Andy Warhol at Interview, a fateful meeting with Karl Lagerfeld began a decades-long friendship with the enigmatic, often caustic designer. Propelled into the upper echelons by his knowledge and adoration of fashion, André moved to Paris as bureau chief of John Fairchild’s Women’s Wear Daily, befriending fashion's most important designers (Halston, Yves Saint Laurent, Oscar de la Renta). But as André made friends, he also made enemies. A racially tinged encounter with a member of the house of Yves Saint Laurent sent him back to New York and into the offices of Vogue under Grace Mirabella.

There, he eventually became creative director, developing an unlikely but intimate friendship with Anna Wintour. As she rose to the top of Vogue’s masthead, André also ascended, and soon became the most influential man in fashion.
The Chiffon Trenches offers a candid look at the who’s who of the last fifty years of fashion. At once ruthless and empathetic, this engaging memoir tells with raw honesty the story of how André not only survived the brutal style landscape but thrived—despite racism, illicit rumors, and all the other challenges of this notoriously cutthroat industry—to become one of the most renowned voices and faces in fashion.

Woven throughout the book are also André’s own personal struggles that have impacted him over the decades, along with intimate stories of those he has turned to for inspiration (Diana Vreeland, Diane von Fürstenberg, Lee Radziwill, to name a few), and of course his Southern roots and ongoing faith, which have guided him since childhood.

The result is a highly compelling read that captures the essence of a world few of us will ever have real access to, but one that we all want to know oh so much more about.

André Leon Talley on Anna Wintour: 'If she asks me to attend her couture fittings after this book, I will be surprised'

In this extract from his explosive new memoir, the former editor-at-large of US Vogue talks frankly about its legendary editor-in-chief

André Leon Talley
Published onSat 23 May 2020 10.00 BST

Vogue started a podcast in 2016 and Anna Wintour announced me as the host. It began with a successful roar and a roster of huge guests: Tom Ford, Kim Kardashian, Marc Jacobs, Alexander Wang. Anna quietly directed the whole thing from her office. She did not approve of all the interviews I wanted to do, like Missy Elliott or Maya Rudolph. We instead stuck to insider fashion. Anna came down and participated if she found my guest interesting enough.

Then, like a morning fog that suddenly lets up, the podcast no longer existed. No explanation or compensation. Just sphinx-like silence from Anna. She decimated me with this silent treatment so many times; it is just the way she resolves any issue.

I knew I mattered in our earlier days together. Today, I would love for Anna to say something human and sincere to me. I have huge psychological scars from my relationship with this towering woman, who can sit by the queen of England, on the front row of a fashion show, in her dark glasses and perfect Louise Brooks clipped coiffure, framing her Mona Lisa mystery face. Who is she? She loves her two children and I am sure she will be the best grandmother. But so many people who have worked for her have suffered huge emotional scarring.

I had suddenly become too old, too overweight and too uncool. I bottled up how hurt I was, as always
In spring of 2018, I realised I hadn’t received any emails from Vogue about my red carpet interviews for the forthcoming Met Gala. For five years, I was assigned to chat to celebrities on livestream video for Vogue; it was something I looked forward to all year. I called and asked what was happening.

“Oh, this is beneath you now,” I was told.

I took the call in my stride, but it was a terrible way to find out. What truly perplexed me was that the previous year, Anna had loved my interviews. She told me they were “great”, which I distinctly remember because she rarely complimented me.

This was clearly a stone-cold business decision. I had suddenly become too old, too overweight and too uncool. After decades of loyalty and friendship, Anna should have had the decency to call or send an email saying, “André, we have had a wonderful run with your interviews, but we are going to try something new.” Simple human kindness. No, she is not capable. I bottled up how hurt I was, as always, but our friendship had just hit a huge iceberg.

My friends told me just to accept it and take my seat at the gala. And I did, in a resplendent bespoke Tom Ford double-faced faille cape and cardinal-like coat with a sash. But for the first time, I didn’t go to Anna’s hotel suite to see her final touches of hair, makeup, shoes and jewels selection. I took my seat like any other guest, at a table with Vera Wang, Zac Posen, John Galliano, Rihanna, Cardi B and Jeremy Scott. A fake smile stretched across my big black lips, my hands clenched in silent disgust. I didn’t want to create a scene, but I couldn’t help but think: This is beneath me, to sit here pretending I am OK with Generalissimo Wintour.

Benny Medina, a major talent agent, interrupted my internal combusting: “Why weren’t you on the steps doing your thing? Jennifer [Lopez] was looking for you; when she didn’t see you, she kept walking.”

“I’m glad to know that,” I said.

Annette de la Renta, a long-time friend, entered, in her black guipure lace-flounced Velázquez evening dress (it was Oscar’s favourite dress he ever made for his wife). On the way to her table, she gave me a warm hug and I felt the love. I realised then that, in all my years of knowing Anna Wintour, we had never shared this feeling.

Anna now treats me as a former employee. Like any ruthless individual, she maintains her sang-froid at all times
I felt suddenly, refreshingly, resolute. I stood up. Vera Wang asked where I was going; I told her the men’s room, but instead I swept and swirled down the back corridors of the Met to my waiting car. On the way home, I swore to myself: I will never attend another Anna Wintour Met Gala for the rest of my life.

You might think I see myself as the victim. I do not. When we began our united trajectories at Vogue, Anna treated me with respect and the concern of a friend. I’ve shared the great moments of her rise to becoming the most powerful woman in fashion. What drives Anna is a sense of her own ability to survive as a powerbroker, with sheer brute force, and to sustain an extraordinary level of success. She has held her position as Vogue’s editor longer than anyone in history, 30 years.

I was never officially let go. I remain on the masthead even now, as a contributing editor, though I rarely go to the office. However, I attend every fitting of Anna’s Met Gala dress, right down to the Manolo Blahniks. Anna considers it her duty to be at her best at the Gala. And, despite my wounded ego and insecurity, I have continued to advise her out of loyalty, no matter if she remains silent. But if she asks me to attend her couture fittings after my book is published, I will be surprised.

Anna now treats me as a former employee. Like any ruthless individual, she maintains her sang-froid at all times. I believe she is immune to anyone other than the powerful and famous people who populate the pages of Vogue. She has mercilessly made her best friends the people highest in their fields: Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Mr and Mrs George Clooney. I am no longer of value to her.

My hope is that she will find a way to apologise before I die, or that if I linger on incapacitated before I pass, she will show up at my bedside, with a hand clasped into mine, and say, “I love you. You have no idea how much you have meant to me.”

André Leon Talley: 'My story is a fairytale, and in every fairytale there is evil and darkness'

Hadley Freeman
As US Vogue’s editor-at-large, he was Anna Wintour’s right-hand man. But then, he reveals in our exclusive interview, he was ‘thrown under the bus’

Hadley Freeman @HadleyFreeman
Sat 23 May 2020 10.00 BST

André Leon Talley – legendary fashion editor, prince of excess – has taken a fair few luxury holidays in his time. First-class flights to Biarritz, private jets, shopping trips to Florence by Concorde. But sometimes he keeps it simple and spends a quiet weekend with his friend, the shoe designer Manolo Blahnik, in Bath “at his residence on the Crescent”.

“Manolo will be in the kitchen cooking his wonderful cuisine, and I’ll be in the larder, lacquering my Louis Vuitton cases with yacht varnish, bringing them to a high shine,” he tells me.

Wait, did he say “yacht varnish”?

“Yes, yacht. Y-A-C-H-T. It’s nothing esoteric. I was inspired by Mrs Vreeland, who told me her suitcases were lacquered in yacht varnish,” he says, referring to the late Diana Vreeland, a former editor of US Vogue and Talley’s first mentor.

Talley has more than 50 pieces of Vuitton hand luggage, currently residing unused in his second home in North Carolina, “because there’s no one at the airports to carry them now”. So he gets through a lot of lacquer, in pursuit of “this refined, dandy lifestyle: it’s not about glamour – it’s self-respect, a standard”. Nor is it about snobbery: “I may have had moments of hauteur. H-A-U-T-E-U-R. But I was never a snob. You can ask [Princess] Gloria von Thurn und Taxis, or [Lady] Amanda Harlech!”

The fashion shows are never short of over-the-top characters, but Talley was always the first to grab everyone’s attention, whatever room he was in. How could he not? He was a 6ft 7in African American in a sweeping kaftan, surrounded by thin white women in cocktail dresses. Next to him would be the thinnest of all, Anna Wintour, his boss at American Vogue.

Talley was her creative director and later editor-at-large, and it was said he was the only person who could tell Wintour if she looked bad in a dress. (“I would never be so rude as to say, ‘You look bad,’” Talley corrects me. “I would say, ‘Oh, who made that?’ and my eyebrows would raise to the ceiling, and there would be a silence.”) While other fashion journalists tend to speak in a tone of elegant boredom, Talley’s voice rang out at every show and party, swinging between a boom and a shriek.

Many people who work in fashion come from a relatively privileged background. When I was 21, I was offered a job at US Vogue, and when I balked at the low salary, I was told, “Most people who work at Vogue have a private income.” Talley did not. Raised by his grandmother, a maid, in Durham, North Carolina, under Jim Crow laws, he could barely afford food when he started as a journalist. For decades he was the only black person on the front row, joined later by the great fashion illustrator and Vanity Fair’s style director Michael Roberts, and the Washington Post’s Robin Givhan, the only fashion writer ever to win a Pulitzer. This gives you an idea of just how talented a person of colour has to be to break into this still extremely white world.

During his four decades at the magazine publishing house Condé Nast, Talley wrote landmark features (including Michelle Obama’s Vogue interview after becoming first lady) and oversaw some of its most extraordinary shoots, including Naomi Campbell as Scarlett O’Hara for Vanity Fair, inverting Gone With The Wind’s racial dynamics. His profiles could be overly chummy – he often interviewed friends – but they were soaked in his outsized personality, and his shoots were joyful. For a long time, he was the most powerful black man in fashion, now overtaken only by Edward Enninful, editor of British Vogue. When Enninful got that job, he wrote to Talley to tell him: “You paved the way.”
Or, as Talley puts it: “I scorched the earth with my talent and I let my light shine.” Now he has written a memoir that blows it all up, like a glorious firecracker shooting into the sky.


“This is the Guardian, yes?” he says, pronouncing it the French way (“Gwardian”?). Talley is talking on the phone “from my library/kitchen/laundry room” in his home in a New York suburb. He has a courtly way of speaking, mixing southern good manners with faintly European pronunciations; friends are always referred to as if he were introducing them to an ambassador at a party: “Annette de la Renta and Oscar de la Renta, very close and dear friends of mine” and “the late Lee Radziwill, the sister of Jackie Kennedy, who was one of my greatest friends in my life, and it was not a known fact we were that close”.

“The first thing I want to say about my book is this,” he begins. “This work, my epistle, is about not only my contribution to the world, but how did my presence change that world? And how was my work regarded and disregarded by Anna Wintour? I am 71 years old and I take my story with me wherever I go. The past is always in the present.”

I read his new memoir, The Chiffon Trenches, in one hot weekend, barely able to put it down. The writing is deliciously good and, as a narrator, Talley is both incisive and dizzyingly unreliable, which adds to the fun. A previous memoir, ALT, published in 2003, often felt hamstrung by professional loyalties: “I had to bite my tongue about certain people, for fear of reprisals,” he writes. There is no tongue-biting here. “This is not a bitchy tell-all,” he says, although some may disagree. Karl Lagerfeld, who died last year, was Talley’s close friend for 40 years and showered him with gifts, including $50,000 for his 50th birthday, because that’s how dandies roll. But in the book, he is depicted as brilliant yet monstrous, capriciously dropping close friends for no reason (including, you won’t be surprised to learn, Talley).

“I would never have talked about this while Karl was alive, out of respect for him and fear of his reprisals,” he says.

What would Lagerfeld have done? “He could have decimated my reputation in fashion.” So instead, Talley has decimated his.

Meanwhile pre-publication coverage of the book has focused on Talley’s very personal attack on Wintour, whom he says has inflicted “huge emotional scarring” on many (including, you again won’t be surprised to learn, Talley) and – worse! – “was never really passionate about clothes”, caring only about power. Wintour, more than anyone in the world, can still make or destroy a designer’s career. She is also a celebrity, recognisable to even the most fashion-phobic. Surely Talley anticipated the fuss he would cause?

“I did not anticipate that at all! One of my editors said to me, ‘Do you think Anna Wintour will talk to you after this comes out?’ I said, ‘Yes, of course! Why not?’”

Maybe because you write that she is not capable of “simple human kindness”?

There is the briefest of pauses. “Well, there’s always hope!” he says.

Talley and Wintour fell out in 2018, after he discovered he was no longer doing the red carpet interviews at the annual Met Gala, or those for Vogue’s podcast. He was replaced at the Met Gala by Liza Koshy, a young YouTube star. “What could this talented YouTuber offer? Surely she didn’t know what a martingale back is to a Balenciaga one-seamed coat,” Talley writes.

He believes he was dropped because “I had suddenly become too old, too overweight and too uncool”. Yet other Vogue staffers of his generation – stylist Grace Coddington, writer Hamish Bowles – have resisted dodo status by embracing social media and other shifts in the weather. Talley is on Instagram, but his page largely consists of references to the past: photos of Radziwill, Vreeland, Princess Gloria. The Vogue of the 80s, 90s and early 00s that he describes in his book, when editors expensed their dry cleaning, is like reading about the last days of the Raj. But you don’t get to be the longest-serving editor of Vogue without knowing when something is passé, and Wintour is ruthless: “So much of it has to do with… having talent that’s right for the moment,” she said in an interview last year, referring to the way she casts her staff.

But Talley says he had accepted the world was changing: “If Anna had called and said, ‘André, we’re thinking of going in a different direction [for the Met ball], it’s important for our brand,’ I would have said, ‘Fine. That’s great.’ And I’d have come in my Tom Ford cape – I always wear Tom Ford – and enjoyed my dinner.” But she didn’t; his former confidante had moved on and, he writes, he never “felt the love” from her.

The estrangement was a shock because the pair had been allies since they first met at Vogue in 1983. When she was appointed editor in 1987, Wintour made Talley creative director. He is very funny about the unspoken rules of working with her: no meeting must last more than eight minutes; food is not an essential part of lunch. Once they took a taxi to a restaurant, ordered their meals, and after 20 minutes Wintour announced they were leaving, before the first courses had come out.

“Food is not important to her, so I learned to deal with that,” Talley says. (I can vouch for this: I was once summoned to a “breakfast meeting” with Wintour at the Ritz in London. It lasted precisely 25 minutes and we didn’t even get to coffee.)

But Talley insists his book is “a love letter to Anna Wintour”, in which case I’d hate to see what counts as hate mail. He has, he says, “been wrapped in neglect”, yet the book often suggests the opposite. Over the years, Wintour invited him to her first wedding (and gave him her bouquet); arranged an interest-free loan from Condé Nast, so he could buy his grandmother’s house; hired him back after he briefly left Vogue in the 90s due to a previous, unexplained falling out; invited him to her children’s weddings.

“Yes, and she did the intervention and Condé Nast paid for that,” he says, referring to the many times Wintour packed him off to a health spa and instructed him to lose weight. (He did, but put it straight back on.)

Didn’t he feel bullied when she was constantly telling him he was too fat?

“No! I felt it showed great concern,” he says.

Talley’s weight has been a problem since his grandmother died in 1989, and he binged on foods that reminded him of her. “Beautiful pineapple and coconut cakes, pies, Virginia ham with cloves,” he says, with the same relish as when listing famous friends or describing designer outfits. “I still have that crutch, eating, and it’s an addiction.”

I ask if, in an industry in which the one crime is to be fat, maybe it was also a rebellion against his lunch-averse boss?

“I never thought about that, but I’m sure people were looking at me and thinking, ‘How disgusting!’ She was always sitting next to me, but I wasn’t deliberately making myself bigger next to these small white women in power,” he says.

Things reached a head after Talley stormed out of the 2018 Met ball. “It felt like I was just thrown under the bus. It hurt!” he says now.

But maybe she thinks he dropped her? He was the one who walked out.

He ponders this, briefly. “Well, if that were the case, she could call me to say, ‘André, what’s wrong?’ That’s what I would expect,” he retorts.

Despite all this, Talley’s name still appears on Vogue’s masthead, as a contributing editor. “I hope I’m still part of the Vogue family – I haven’t been officially told I’m not,” he says, horrified at the thought. And he probably is – after all, Wintour gave him the go-ahead to publish this book. She read an early draft and asked only that he remove some private details about her children. She knows being denounced as a she-devil is good for her brand (she turned up to the premiere of The Devil Wears Prada in, yes, Prada). While outsiders have long been transfixed by what Talley calls Wintour’s “sphinx-like looks”, the funniest moments in his book come when we see just how much her staff also bought into the mythology. In perhaps the weirdest scene, Wintour scribbles a thank you note to Talley and he sends it to his framer so he can treasure it for ever. (Alas, the framer failed to appreciate its significance and chucked it away, much to Talley’s fury.)

Isn’t it unusual to frame a casual note from someone you’ve worked with for decades, I ask.

“It was not an original idea! [US Vogue fashion editor] Tonne Goodman had a letter from Anna framed,” Talley says.

I suddenly feel rather sorry for Wintour, trying to get on with her job but surrounded by people frantically framing every Post-it she discards.


Talley’s book tells the story of his life, which is often the story of the women who have supported him: his grandmother, Vreeland, Annette de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Radziwill and, most of all, Wintour.

I tell him it sounds as if he spent his life looking for mother figures; maybe he forgot that Wintour was his boss, not his mother.

“I have always looked for mother and father figures. I had to look up to something to go forward,” he says.

A day later, he sends an email to clarify: “My mother figure to this day is my grandmother. She gave me unconditional love and her home, her values, were my arc of safety.”

Talley was raised by his grandmother, Bennie Frances Davis, while his parents worked in a different state. As a child, he was bullied by other kids, but adored by Bennie, although he says she hugged him only twice in his childhood (“too busy”). Yet she unblinkingly supported this little boy whose idea of a perfect day was to watch Julia Child cook on TV, then wallpaper his room with pages torn from Vogue.

His mother was a different matter: “She never abandoned me, but she didn’t understand me.” She could be cruel and would mock his experiments with fashion, which became analogous with escape.

“Every Sunday I would walk across the railroad tracks into the affluent part of Durham and buy Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, and go back to my grandmother’s house, read my magazines. I was allowed to retreat from the bullying and the sexual abuse into a beautiful world,” he says.

Talley never told anyone he was sexually abused as a child – not the therapists he has seen, not even his beloved pastor. But he felt, with this book, that it was time to explain himself.

“It began when I was nine years of age, and it was serial. My whole life has been determined by this trauma. I can say this now,” he says.

His first abuser was a man who lived on his street, who would tell him, “This is our secret game.” Later, there were older brothers of friends. He didn’t tell his grandmother because “it wasn’t something that could be discussed at the dinner table. And I was afraid I might be considered the perpetrator and sent away to detention.”

Because of the abuse, Talley says he has never really had an intimate relationship. In the late 70s, he writes, he attempted to go to bed with a French journalist: “It was hopeless, useless. This idea of mounting an individual and causing what I had only known as deep discomfort... He gave up and we got dressed.” He has, he says, had romances with men and women as an adult. “But I’ve not had them successfully. I don’t know how to be intimate and in a relationship, and I regret that. It comes from this childhood trauma.”

As a young man in New York, he fled from gay bars, horrified at the overt sexuality and preferring instead the chaste fun of dancing with Diana Ross at Studio 54. Instead of looking for sexual connection, he would look for approval from people he admired. And if he felt any emotional lack, he “filled my life with luxury and the pursuit of education”.

Talley studied at North Carolina Central University, then, on a scholarship to the prestigious Brown University, got a master’s in French Literature. He is still rightly proud of this, taking care to mention that he has “better degrees than Anna Wintour”. It was at Brown that he first met people connected to fashion, and after graduating was taken under Vreeland’s wing in New York. From that point, it was a dizzying upward rise: working with Andy Warhol at Interview magazine, reporting from Paris for Women’s Wear Daily and then, at last, Vogue.

 I never thought about being a man of colour in my career until recently. Now this is always in my mind
He felt “at home” in this over-the-top world, where “there were no victims, only high octane egos”. Any insecurities could be hidden beneath another custom-made suit. During his first eight months in Paris, every time he got his weekly paycheck, he marched straight to the Vuitton store and bought another suitcase. Surround yourself with enough beauty and you’ll no longer think about ugliness – that’s the theory, anyway. Talley instantly fell in love with the fashion set, with their clearly defined rules: you go to these nightclubs, talk about those subjects, use this lacquer on your suitcases.

He didn’t think about being a black man in the white world of fashion: “I earned my position not because I was a beautiful, skinny – you can look at the pictures – articulate black man. But because I had done my homework and my degrees. I never thought about being a man of colour in my career until recently.”

Others were more conscious of it. In the book Talley reflects that, in the 70s, one fashion PR referred to him as “Queen Kong”. Around that same time, a colleague accused him of being what he describes as “a black buck” and sleeping with every designer in Paris, in order to humiliate him out of his job. It worked, and Talley, mortified and furious, returned to New York. These days, he says he feels a different responsibility as a man of colour: “I’m a descendant of enslaved people, and this is always in my mind. Whatever I articulate must in some way reflect who I am as a black man and what I can impart to the history of fashion, as this black person who was able to be in the front row.”

Since he’s taken a step back, he says, his eyes have been opened to who his real friends are. Some – Ford, Herrera – have stayed true. Others have not. “I do think I’ve been dropped by Miuccia Prada. That is a big surprise. I have eight crocodile coats custom-made for me by her, but she has not kept in touch. And that hurts me.”

Talley is not the first person to have confused possessions with love, or a career with life. “I don’t need any more stuff, I have too much in my houses,” he says, then lists his favourite stuff, including photos of himself with Oprah Winfrey, a Warhol silkscreen of Vreeland, “Truman Capote’s sofa”. He couldn’t afford more stuff now anyway; instead of being chauffeured everywhere as he was in his pomp, a friend called Chad gives him lifts to the supermarket.

For Talley, elegance is what he learned from Vreeland and the beloved matriarchs of his past, but fashion is about being heartlessly modern. He says he doesn’t miss the status he had in his heyday, but rather “the human fellowship of being on the front row”. But the front row is a powerful signifier of status: being there means you are one of the most important people in fashion, and this kind of validation still matters to him. To show love to his “dear friends”, Talley includes them in his list of best-dressed people. Wintour comes in at number one – but only when wearing Chanel haute couture.

Talley and I have been talking for two hours and I would be happy to talk for 10 more. Fashion will be a blander place if it no longer has space for characters like him; the expense accounts will probably be smaller, but it will be a less exciting world. Despite his obsession with luxury and the fashion industry, Talley remains interested in everything. Non-fashion topics we touch on include the career of Barbara Stanwyck, the songs of Nina Simone, Barry Jenkins’ adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel If Beale Street Could Talk, Anne Glenconner’s bestselling memoir, Lady In Waiting (“Exceptional: I come from the opposite spectrum of the world, but I compare my life to hers, the gilded cage and the reality”). Does he ever think he would have been happier had he stayed in North Carolina and worked as a teacher, as Vreeland once worried he’d do?

“Never. NEVER!” he gasps. “My story is a fairytale of excess, and in every fairytale there is evil and darkness, but you overcome it with light. I want every person I come across – the stranger on the street, the church member in the pew next to me – to feel love. I have not been privy to love in my life, but I want them to feel that they have received some love from engaging with me, André Leon Talley.”

Friday 22 May 2020

'What’s the point?' Luxury stores open in Paris that’s empty of tourists

'What’s the point?': Paris fashion faces up to life after lockdown

Socially distanced shopping proves a hard sell in the French capital with few places open to show off

Alice Pfeiffer in Paris
Published onFri 22 May 2020 22.35 BST

Since shops reopened in France last week, luxury fashion boutiques in the French capital have been revamping their security measures to create a transformed high-end experience.

In one of the first countries in Europe to open for consumers to such an extent, luxury destinations are becoming self-aware pioneers in inventing a new shopping environment. The challenge is “to make people today feel charmed as much as safe”, says Jennifer Cuvillier, the head of style at the department store Le Bon Marché – no small challenge in the context of global luxury sales projected to drop by 50% this year, according to a recent report by Baines.

Shoppers are welcomed to Le Bon Marché by an eerily masked and gloved army of staff – 150 to be precise, one for each visitor at the store’s maximum capacity in these post-confinement days. A shop assistant privately chaperones visitors through the almost invariably glass-shielded displays.

In an ambience lodged between a museum visit and a dystopian sci-fi movie, they follow the mandatory curated route so as to avoid any potential physical contact. The tills are shielded by acrylic screens, such as at Chanel on Rue Cambon.

The majority of the shops disinfect and quarantine any item that has been touched, for 48 to 72 hours. And, of course, the changing rooms are sanitised after every use. To counter these rather daunting measures, brands seem to be focusing on offering personalised and upgraded services: luxury labels including Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior have begun offering private shopping sessions.

All the efforts notwithstanding, a week after doors reopened, the initial rush seems to have faded. While on 11 May, crowds flocked to the boutiques on the Champs Élysées and Avenue Montaigne – a seemingly endless line of luxury-hungry shoppers awaiting the opening of Louis Vuitton – the situation has radically changed: Chanel, Céline and Yves Saint Laurent are all queue-less a week later, and the boutiques almost empty. Sales assistants at Galeries Lafayette Champs Élysées and Loewe both confirmed traffic had fallen significantly.

“There was an initial craze that didn’t last,” notes Rémy Faure, a hair colourist. “One of my clients went straight out on the 11th to buy an electric-blue Kelly bag at Hermès. But a lot of people have started thinking more critically about their life choices and needs during the confinement.”

Serge Carreira, a fashion lecturer at the Paris Institute of Political Studies, says: “With the absence of tourists, who make up the large majority of luxury sales, boutiques are empty.”

Shopping is not going away, he says, but it is changing: “Those who shop will do it differently, more determinately; it won’t be a heat of the moment decision but something thought out.”

Coming out of Galeries Lafayettes Champs Élysées, Samantha, 34, and Elena, 33, suggest that the slump in shopping is down to the fact that there is nowhere to show off any new outfits. “À quoi bon?” (What’s the point?) grumbles Samantha. Theatres, cinemas, restaurants, cafes and bars are closed. “The only places to visit are shops,” adds Elena, for whom lèche-vitrine (literally “window licking”, as the French call browsing) is one of the few outdoor activities available in the city now.

According to Carreira, the slowness could be due to habits gained in the lockdown: “Shopping addicts shopped as much as they could during the confinement, many people have adopted the habit and, one can assume, don’t see the point of going out to a city still with a ghost-like feeling.”

Luxury stores open in Paris that’s empty of tourists as France eases coronavirus lockdown restrictions

Luxury Parisian shops are testing customers’ appetite for splashing out on goods again, though the dearth of international tourists remains a major drag

Brands used new hygiene routines, with Louis Vuitton steaming clothes tried on and quarantining handbags; Christian Dior erected Plexiglas shields at tills

Published: 4:30pm, 13 May, 2020

Shoppers, using social distancing, wait in line to enter a Louis Vuitton shop in Paris, France. The French began leaving their homes and apartments for the first time in two months as the country cautiously lifted its lockdown restrictions. Photo: APShoppers, using social distancing, wait in line to enter a Louis Vuitton shop in Paris, France. The French began leaving their homes and apartments for the first time in two months as the country cautiously lifted its lockdown restrictions. Photo: AP
Shoppers, using social distancing, wait in line to enter a Louis Vuitton shop in Paris, France. The French began leaving their homes and apartments for the first time in two months as the country cautiously lifted its lockdown restrictions. Photo: AP
At an Hermes store on one of Paris’s swankiest streets, shop assistants greeted customers through face masks with sanitiser gels and a polite refrain: “May I refresh your hands?”
As France began to exit its strict coronavirus lockdown, many of its luxury brands also opened their doors, giving sanitary protocols a makeover and testing people’s appetite for splurging after a shutdown that has rocked economies worldwide.
At Louis Vuitton’s store on Paris’s grand Place Vendome square, which sells everything from €645 (US$700) cocktail shakers to jewellery worth hundreds of thousands, a few local clients kept business ticking over.
“It’s a friend’s birthday and we’re buying her a wallet,” said Paris resident Hajar. “It’ll be the first time we’ve seen each other in two months.”
At the Hermes shop on the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore, there was even a semblance of business as usual. A shop assistant discreetly kept count of the number of people milling around at any one time – around 50 at one point in early afternoon, across two floors. And one shopper said she had been told to make an appointment if she wanted to discuss buying a pricey “Kelly” handbag.
“They always make things difficult at Hermes,” said Blessing Williams, a 23-year-old model from Nigeria who lives in Paris. She still came away with a pair of sandals.
But travel restrictions and the resulting dearth of international tourists will remain a major drag for months to come on luxury shopping capitals such as Paris, or Milan, where fashion firms are set to reopen stores on May 18.
Depending on the brand, foreign tourists usually make up between 35 and 55 per cent of luxury labels’ revenue in Europe, according to Jefferies analyst Flavio Cereda.
In Germany, where small stores have been open for three weeks, well-heeled shoppers looking for luxury are still few and far between, suit maker Hugo Boss said last week. The plush changing cabins at Vuitton’s Vendome shop, now regularly disinfected, were a lot less busy than usual, assistants say.
A nearby Chanel store was quieter than before the crisis too, staff say. Hermes boss Axel Dumas, mingling with employees at the Faubourg Saint-Honore shop, declined to comment on how the first few hours of trade had gone.
Despite signs of recovery in China, the industry’s biggest market, global sales of luxury goods are expected to slump by up to 50 per cent this year, the consultancy Bain forecast last week.
For now, brands are focused on easing into new hygiene routines, including making the use of face masks compulsory.
At Vuitton in Paris, owned by the LVMH conglomerate, clothes that are tried on are set aside to be steamed, and handbags are put in a 48-hour quarantine.
Cleaning protocols for other items vary, depending on how close they come to people’s faces or the materials involved. Christian Dior, another LVMH label, and Chanel, a privately owned group, have also erected Plexiglas shields by the tills.