André Leon Talley, the famed fashion editor who died Tuesday at the age of 73 in White Plains, New York, was honored this week for his many contributions to the industry. 

Talley was considered a powerful figure in fashion and a rare Black editor in an industry that has been notoriously white. His death drew widespread attention from both the fashion and publishing community. A towering and easily identifiable figure standing at over 6-feet tall, Talley would often wear unique and flamboyant styles such as a long kaftan, regal hats, and statement robes, as part of his signature look.

Talley was best known for his influential partnerships with Vogue magazine dating back to 1983 when he started as a news director. He was later promoted to creative director and editor-at-large. He drew more mainstream attention as a judge on the reality television show ''America's Next Top Model." He also served as artistic director for the online shoe retailer Zappos.

Talley was born in Washington, D.C., and later moved to Durham, North Carolina, where he was raised by his grandmother, who worked as a cleaning lady. 

In contrast to some of his well-established fashion peers, Talley had an extensive academic background. He received a Bachelor's degree in French literature from North Carolina Central University. He later earned his Master's degree in French literature from Brown University, where wrote his thesis on the influence of Black women on the paintings of Eugene Delacroix and the writings of poet Charles Baudelaire. Talley served on the board of trustees for the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia for 20 years.

The rise from humble beginnings to an icon in the fashion industry left many in wonderment of Talley's influence. Author Brandon Taylor posted on Twitter that Talley was a true American genius.

"To me personally, an example of how to be Black, big, Southern, and unashamed of taking up space because you deserve it. But what most came through in his memoir is how much he LOVED this world and the people in it," Taylor wrote Wednesday.

Talley shared a 30-year friendship with Anna Wintour, the Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Magazine. In an interview with People Magazine in 2020, while promoting his memoir "The Chiffon Trenches," Talley disclosed details of his relationship with Wintour. "We didn't have to speak,” he explained. He also noted that he “knew what she was thinking, without words," saying, "She doesn't say many words."

Wintour released a statement on Vogue magazine's Twitter account: "The loss of André is felt by so many of us today: the designers he enthusiastically cheered on every season, and who loved him for it; the generations he inspired to work in the industry, seeing a figure who broke boundaries while never forgetting where he started from; those who knew fashion, and Vogue, simply because of him; and, not forgetting, the multitude of colleagues over the years who were consistently buoyed by every new discovery of André’s, which he would discuss loudly, and volubly—no one could make people more excited about the most seemingly insignificant fashion details than him."

Wintour also noted the personal relationship she shared with Talley.

"Even his stream of colorful faxes and emails were a highly anticipated event, something we all looked forward to. Yet it’s the loss of André as my colleague and friend that I think of now; it’s immeasurable. He was magnificent and erudite and wickedly funny—mercurial, too. Like many decades-long relationships, there were complicated moments, but all I want to remember today, all I care about, is the brilliant and compassionate man who was a generous and loving friend to me and to my family for many, many years, and who we will all miss so much."

Comedian Leslie Jones posted a video on Twitter with Talley with the caption: "Wow we are just losing our icons!" 

Author Roxane Gay described on Twitter that Talley was a "beacon of style for so many." 

Actress Viola Davis posted on Twitter: "Rest well King."