André Leon Talley is a man of many expository words. But for his latest project, the legendary fashion editor and first Black creative director for a major fashion magazine needs only pronounce one: Ugg.
Talley, a larger-than-life character and walking encyclopedia of fashion history, has been tapped by the California-based label known for its fleece-lined footwear to star in its latest campaign, which will also reportedly star model Iman. Titled Feel, the ongoing series started in September featuring artists Sonya Sombreuil and Fulton Leroy Washington, and was followed by a collection with buzzy designer Telfar Clemens. Now, Ugg has set its sights on the fashion industry icon. But just don’t call him that to his face.
“An iconic person is someone who has achieved a great deal in their life,” Talley expressed. “I don’t consider myself an icon. I consider President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama icons; what they did for the country was amazing. Kamala Harris will be iconic—the first female Vice President ever in the history of our country.”
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Though Talley may shun the honorific title, it is certainly deserved. A front-row fixture for nearly five decades, he has championed the leading talents in the fashion industry, from designers to models to labels like Ugg. He’s even worn the brand’s signature boots to a number of glitzy events.
“I am the No. 1 Ugg fan,” Talley told Footwear News. “In fact, you’ve seen me so many times on the front row [during] Fashion Weeks … in the international global fashion cities—Paris, London, Milan and Rome—wearing the classic Ugg boot.”
Talley has since left fashion journalism, starring in his own radio show on SiriusXM in 2017 and releasing a memoir, The Chiffon Trenches, in 2020. Lately, he’s been quarantining at his home in White Plains, New York, which served as the backdrop for his Ugg campaign.
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With a career like his, the halls of his stately home are filled with every conceivable style from the leading names in footwear. But for Talley, when it comes to ease and practically, Ugg is a cut above the rest.
“I love beautiful luxury shoes,” he said. “I have wardrobes of Manolo Blahnik shoes made just for me and wardrobes of John Lobb shoes (which I could not afford today) and Berluti shoes and Tom Ford shoes, but as beautiful as your foot looks in these custom-made shoes, there’s nothing as comfortable as wearing an UGG slipper.”
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US