André Leon Talley Distances Himself from Trump, Says 'I Don’t Want Melania Trump to Fail'

Image of André Leon Talley with Donald Trump and Melania Trump at Fashion Week in 2005 via Getty
Image of André Leon Talley with Donald Trump and Melania Trump at Fashion Week in 2005 via Getty

After being blessed with a thoroughly stylish and sane First Lady for two terms, the fashion world appears stuck in a crisis about whether a Melania Trump affiliation will be worth it, given that she’s the wife of a descendant of one of these creatures. Vogue legend André Leon Talley wants to correct any assumptions that he’s supporting the Trump administration after he praised the future First Lady last month.


Unsurprisingly, Talley, who was a guest at The Trumps’ wedding, made the diplomatic decision not to openly trash Melania while talking about her potential fashion impact. “I hope there will be a great great Trump presidency,” Talley told The Daily Mail in November. “Melania will be one of the great stars in the administration.”

Talley now wants to clarify to people, including friends emailing him about Trump, that he’s not in fact riding with the Trump administration, lest anyone believe he’s supporting a boiling lunatic. In a New York Times interview with writer Maureen Dowd, Talley, while wearing a Norma Kamali sleeping bag coat, confirms that he voted for the practical candidate. Talley says:

“I’m not a big person in the world. I’m maybe a big figure in the fashion world. I mean, sort of iconic. But I don’t want to get phone calls in the middle of the night, telling me I’ve gone over to Trumpland and I’m going to Darth Vader because I said nice things about Melania. I voted for Hillary Clinton. I registered in North Carolina because it mattered. I went through hoops of fire to get my absentee ballot. And, quite frankly, I thought she would have brought back the pantsuit.”

Talley adds, “You make the choice to be in Trumpland or you make the choice to eject yourself from the horror of Trumpland. I’ve made my choice not to be part of Trumpland.” Further, he emphasizes that he does not endorse “Trumpism” but calls Melania “a nice person.” After his Daily Mail quotes surfaced, Dowd writes:

It didn’t take long for the guillotine to fall. One friend emailed him, “Oh my God, you have gone to the Evil Empire!!!!!”

He agonized about the “tragedy of ruptured friendships” to me in an email, saying about Melania: “She’s a nice person. I do not endorse Trumpism on any level. So why can’t one be positive and want her to shine? I mean, it’s good she cares about napkins, crystal, dinner plates with gilded edges to the point of over the top, and abundant flower arrangements. In the end, why pick on her when they should be picking on her husband’s billionaire cabinet and his seeming readiness to turn the country back towards oppression, anti-Semitism, anti-culturalism, etc.”

Such is the dilemma for famous people who’ve engaged with the Trumps pre-election. To say nice things or nothing at all? I would suggest nothing at all, in the face of certain destruction under the leadership of Sly Sludge. But it’s impossible to keep André Leon Talley from talking.

“People are really afraid of these dark, dark institutions of bigotry and anti-Semitism that have come out from under the rocks like creepy snakes and come up to rear their heads up like cobras,” he says. “People seem to have put all their egregious things on the back burner. Melania plagiarized Michelle Obama’s speech. Let’s just wait and see what happens on Jan. 20. I don’t want Trump to fail, and I don’t want Melania Trump to fail. But I’m not going to sit here and say any more positive things, because I’d get crucified from personal friends.” Good move.

Culture Editor, Jezebel



“Melania will be one of the great stars in the administration.”

How the fuck is she going to do that from Trump Tower? She isn’t even going to be living in the White House. She has made it clear she wants nothing to do with this shit storm and is using her son as a convenient excuse to stay at home in the comforts of the tower while still getting taxpayer funded security.