André Leon Talley‘s lifelong passion for fashion started during his childhood in Jim Crow-era North Carolina. As he explains in the above trailer for "The Gospel According to André," which Magnolia Pictures premiered on Monday (April 2), he understood style as an expression of resilience by watching his Black family and community members dress up for church.
"All my relatives had style," he explains in the documentary trailer over photos of his family in elegant dresses and suits. "In the South, going to church was the most important thing in life," he continues.
"The Gospel According to André" charts Talley’s life from that foundational period through his move to New York City in the 1970s, when he entered the fashion world by working with Andy Warhol, and his decades of increasing influence. Talley landed in senior editorial positions at Vogue magazine in the ’80s, using his tastemaking power and visibility to push for better representation of Black artists and culture in luxury fashion. Interviews with Talley, family members and friends including designers Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford illustrate how Talley overcame racism and homophobia to leave a lasting impression on contemporary couture.
"People have said many bad things about me," Talley recounted in the trailer. "They used to call me ‘Queen Kong.’ I was like an ape. I was a gay ape, Queen Kong. But I had to move on, I had to get on with my career."
Learn "The Gospel According to André" when the documentary premieres in theaters on May 25.