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Film Review: A Fashionable Life in ‘The Gospel According to André’

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CHICAGO – He’s not a household name, but his influence has affected the closets of those households. André Leon Talley (“ALT”) is a New York City fashionista of the highest order, despite a background that would never predict that fate. But a person in the right place at the right time with the right work ethic can product magical results, and “The Gospel According to André” conjures that journey for Talley.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

In a crisp document of the life and times of ALT, by director Kate Novack, “The Gospel…” uses a parallel of the 2016 election as a backdrop for his past accomplishments, and the results of that election end up in an unexpected scene. The rest of the show is the life story – of an African American boy coming from the Jim Crow American South and driving the media of fashion – and the talking heads around that story, the cream of that fashion in an era still influential but also elusive. The larger-than-life figure of André Leon Talley presided over it all, in oversized caftans made by the top designers. As the subject of the documentary says, “fashion is not art, it is hard work.”

André Leon Talley was born in Washington, DC, but grew up in the North Carolina during the 1950s segregation of whites and African Americans in the South. Raised by his grandmother, who was a housekeeper for a fraternity at North Carolina University, Talley was encouraged in his love for order and fashion. And despite being a lower middle class African American gay man from the Jim Crow south, steered his life force toward that goal.

After graduating from Brown University, the place he went to to escape his roots, he ended up in 1974 New York City. His world turned around when he volunteered for a fashion exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and caught the attention of Diana Vreeland, at the height of her power as editor-in-chief at Vogue fashion magazine and curator of the exhibit. ALT’s influence exploded from there, as he rose to editorial prominence in several fashion magazines, including Vogue.

“The Gospel According to André” opens in Chicago on June 1st, part of a nationwide release. See local listings for theaters and show times. Directed by Kate Novack. Rated “PG-13”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “The Gospel According to André”

Andre1
André Leon Talley is Profiled in ‘The Gospel According to André’
Photo credit: Magnolia Pictures

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “The Gospel According to André”

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