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Andre Leon Talley Had Capes Made for His ANTM Appearances Because He "Wasn't As Thin As Some People Want Me to Be"

Andre Leon Talley Had Capes Made for His ANTM Appearances Because He "Wasn't As Thin As Some People Want Me to Be"


>> An audience
of 300 ran the gauntlet of PETA protestors, Police officers, and a metal detector to hear Andre Leon Talley wax lyrical last night at FIT on everything from blogs and the Internet — "love it . . . the Internet is very important to fashion" — to his original career path — "I went to school to be a French teacher, but I always knew I wanted to be in fashion" — to a current project in the works — "I'm working on something that I hope maybe one day can become a one-man Broadway/Off Broadway show."

He rattled off his personal Costume Institute Gala best dressed list, "in this order":  "of course Anna Wintour in exquisite Chanel," Lee Radziwell in "a beautiful Ralph Rucci sequin paillette caftan," Renee Zellweger in an "extraordinary" Carolina Herrera, Isabel Toledo, Ricky Lauren "dressed as Marlene Dietrich," and Cassie, of whom he added: "she was dressed by a new young designer called Laquan Smith [Editor's note: who Talley has recently taken under his wing]."

Talley says his own Met Gala ensemble came under fire, however »

Talley, who wore a scarlett red cape with a black T-shirt boasting a glittering NAACP logo last night, explained that he had worn a similar shirt to the Met Gala on Monday, and come under fire for it: "I wore one the other day, and some nasty French woman said, 'He went to the Met with the same T-shirt he had on this morning.' I have 48 of them."

Talley also revealed that despite being close with a number of designers, "I have never slept with any designer. I have slept in many designers' beds as a guest, but I have never slept with or had an affair with a designer, male or female."

When asked about the "dreckitude" phrase he coined for his appearances as judge on America's Next Top Model, he hinted that he may be back next season: "I'm going to do another ''tude' in the next cycle but I can't tell you what it is." He added that he will be acting as guest co-host of The View, with friend Whoopi Goldberg, on May 19.

But about the inspiration for the capes Ralph Rucci made Talley for ANTM:

"Very often, my clothes are inspired by what I see in history. [When] I was living in Paris, Manolo Blahnik was the greatest shoemaker in the world. And I used to call Manolo on the phone — I think it was Saturday afternoon and I'm sitting in Paris, and I say, 'Oh Manolo, I just went to Versailles, and there are these extraordinary shoes [from] a regal painting of Louis XIV, you know, the bright shoes, the red heel.' Five minutes later on the fax machine would be his design for me."

"So if I see a painting, I may say to a friend who's a designer, I want to have a cape like the cape that I saw in the painting, in the museum. So, when I went to America's Next Top Model, and I wasn't as thin as some people want me to be, I said to Ralph [Rucci], you've got to come up with a fabulous idea, and I wanted a pop of color because it's TV, and on TV you can't wear the same thing over and over — you've got to have a different outfit every week. And there was a samurai exhibit at the Metropolitan last Fall, 'Art of the Samurai.' And the curator of the exhibit had taken ten years to put that exhibit together at the Met. And when I read in The New York Times someone spent ten years putting together the exhibit, I rushed there. I was totally, totally, blown away. I went more than once and then I got the curator to give me a private tour one day with some friends, and the way he described the tunics — the 17th century Edo samurai — then I started looking at [Akiro] Kurosawa, one of the greatest directors, and I saw Kurosawa, and I saw these tunics, and I said, 'Ralph, we're doing 17th century Edo period tunics!'"

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