Anna Wintour’s Former Friend and Colleague Spills About Her Comments Regarding His Weight

André Leon Talley isn’t holding anything back in his upcoming book The Chiffon Trenches: A Memoir. The Daily Mail reports that after decades of working with Anna Wintour, Talley is taking aim at Wintour for her cruelty and mercilessness, making it clear that their friendship is over. Talley’s memoir dives into his time with the woman who inspired Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada.

Anna Wintour wearing sunglasses and an oatmeal colored blazer
Anna Wintour | Marc Piasecki/GC Images/Getty Images

Who is Anna Wintour?

Known for her signature sunglasses and bob haircut, Wintour has been the editor-in-chief at Vogue since 1988. She showed interest in fashion early and had a long career in the industry and journalism before landing the top job at Vogue. Wintour started working retail in London before stints with publications like New York Magazine and House & Garden. In addition to her more than full-time position with Vogue, Wintour hosts the annual Met Gala. The event is widely regarded as the ‘Super Bowl’ of fashion.

Outside of work, Wintour has been married twice. She had two children with her first husband David Shaffer, but the pair divorced in 1999. Wintour is currently married to businessman Shelby Bryan. 

Anna Wintour’s tough reputation

Wintour famously has a reputation as a cold, unforgiving person. Her icy exterior earned her the unkind nickname Nuclear Wintour. On top of that, she is rumored to be the inspiration behind Meryl Streep’s character in The Devil Wears Prada. The rumors are generally believed; Miranda Priestly’s meticulous appearance and taxing management style seem to be directly ripped from Wintour. The Daily Mail reports that “one of her two assistants did have to go to her home every morning with a copy of the big book, a mockup of the current issue of Vogue, with flowers, gifts and all her clean clothes.”

While that morning routine is unthinkable for most people, possibly the most unrelatable aspect of Wintour’s life is that her kitchen is always clean … because she never cooks. While Wintour maintained her aloof position for decades, her image recently softened slightly thanks to The First Monday in May and appearances with Taylor Swift on Vogue’s “Go Ask Anna” segments.

André Leon Talley slams Anna Wintour

Whatever friendlier image Wintour had been cultivating has been shattered by the claims made by Talley in The Chiffon Trenches. The longtime friend and colleague says that Wintour has left him scarred, both emotionally and psychologically. Talley counts himself among the many Wintour has left in “a frayed and tattered heap during her powerful rule.”

Talley tells readers that during his ongoing struggle with his weight, Wintour called him and told him to go to the gym. After Talley unsuccessfully tried to lose weight with a diet where he only ate cabbage, Wintour reportedly staged an intervention for him and told him his weight was “out of control.” Finally, Talley was sent to rehab at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center. While this could all be construed as the actions of a concerned friend, Talley says that Wintour is “not capable of human kindness.”

In addition to Wintour’s focus on his weight, Talley details how their professional relationship fell apart. Allegedly, Wintour froze Talley out, unceremoniously canceling his podcast and treating him to a “sphinx like silence.” Talley says this happened because Wintour deemed him “too old, too overweight, too uncool” for her.

Reactions to André Leon Talley’s memoir

Though the memoir isn’t due out until September, what we have seen is already making waves in the fashion industry. The Daily Mail quotes designer Betsey Johnson as saying, “I think it’s great that André has called Anna out. Except for The Devil Wears Prada, nobody’s had the balls to say how she really is because everyone’s scared of Anna’s power.”

While this is not the first falling out between Wintour and her former right-hand man, it seems likely to be the last. However, Talley said, “My hope is that she will find a way to apologize before I die.”