Former Vogue Editor Spills All About His Traumatic Friendship With Anna Wintour — & How She

We’re pleased to report that the inspiration behind The Devil Wears Prada’s Miranda Priestly lives up to her reputation — at least according to one of her scorned former employees!

Former editor-at-large of Vogue André Leon Talley (pictured above) paints a rather cold portrait of Anna Wintour in his upcoming memoir, The Chiffon Trenches, claiming that his once close friend and boss is “not capable of human kindness.”

According to excerpts obtained by, the 70-year-old says he has “huge emotional and psychological scars” from his long friendship with the glossy’s iconic editor, and claims that Wintour froze him out last year because he was “too old, too overweight, too uncool” for her. Ouch!

Too uncool? He was in Sex and the City: The Movie for crying out loud!

And he’s not the only person Wintour allegedly cast aside for being out-of-season, so to speak: Talley claims there’s an “endless” list of writers, stylists, and models who the fashion mogul threw away onto a “frayed and tattered heap during her powerful rule,” writing:

“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 people who are the highest in their chosen fields. Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Mr. and Mrs. George Clooney are, to her, friends. I am no longer of value to her.”

But he had been for many years. Talley noted that when he started out in fashion journalism and Wintour was creative director at Vogue, she became a “powerful ally” of his — despite him being “terribly terrified” of her.

When Wintour left the US to become editor of British Vogue, Talley became style editor of Vanity Fair. But Wintour snatched him back when she returned to America as editor of Home & Garden magazine, and brought him with her to Vogue when she became its editor in 1988.

At the time, the bob-haired icon gave Talley her old job of creative director, making him the highest ranking black man in the history of fashion journalism. Under her wing, Talley got big assignments like Madonna’s first Vogue cover in 1989 at her Los Angeles home. (He claims Madge introduced herself by saying, “Hi, I’m Madonna, you want a blow job?” — to which he politely declined.)

But eventually, things changed. Wintour stopped sending Talley the best assignments, making him feel that he “wasn’t being treated properly.” So he stormed into Wintour’s office one day and quit, then moved back home to North Carolina.

Some months later, however, Talley made up with Wintour when her own mother died. He flew to the UK to be at the funeral, where Wintour broke down in tears during the eulogy, and Talley “cradled her in my arms” as they walked out — which was the only time he physically held her.

Although Talley returned to Vogue as editor-at-large, tensions between him and Wintour remained due to his weight. One day, the editor called him and said:

“You’ve got to go to the gym.”

Talley got a personal trainer and tried a diet where he just ate cooked cabbage. Shockingly, it did not work, so Wintour sent Talley for rehab at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center in North Carolina — where he was able to lose a good portion of weight that he put back on soon after.

Years later, Talley sensed he was being iced out by Wintour after a Vogue podcast he hosted suddenly ceased to exist, without any explanation from the boss, who he claimed developed a “sphinx-like silence” toward him.

He wrote:

“ decimated me with this silent treatment so many times… this is just the way she resolves any issue.”

As it turned out, he wasn’t alone. Talley later spoke with Graydon Carter, the former editor of Vanity Fair, who told him:

“One day treats me like a good friend and a colleague, and the next day, she treats me as if she had just handed over her keys to an unknown parking valet.”

Talley continued in his own words:

“Today, I would love for her to say something human and sincere to me. I have huge emotional and psychological scars from my relationship with this towering and influential woman… she loves her two children and I am sure she will be the best grandmother… but there are so many people who have worked for her and have suffered huge emotional scarring… the list is endless. She has dashed so many on a frayed and tattered heap during her powerful rule.”

Yikes. All we can say to that is…

For more juicy Vogue stories, pick up a copy of Talley’s memoir — hitting shelves in September!

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