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Publisher's Summary

New York Times Best Seller

From the pages of Vogue to the runways of Paris, this “captivating” (Time) memoir by a legendary style icon captures the fashion world from the inside out, in its most glamorous and most cutthroat moments.

The Chiffon Trenches honestly and candidly captures 50 sublime years of fashion.” (Manolo Blahnik)

Named one of the best books of the year by NPR, Fortune, and Garden & Gun

During André Leon Talley’s first magazine job, alongside Andy Warhol at Interview, a fateful meeting with Karl Lagerfeld began a decades-long friendship with the enigmatic, often caustic designer. Propelled into the upper echelons by his knowledge and adoration of fashion, André moved to Paris as bureau chief of John Fairchild’s Women’s Wear Daily, befriending fashion’s most important designers (Halston, Yves Saint Laurent, Oscar de la Renta). But as André made friends, he also made enemies. A racially tinged encounter with a member of the house of Yves Saint Laurent sent him back to New York and into the offices of Vogue under Grace Mirabella. There, he eventually became creative director, developing an unlikely but intimate friendship with Anna Wintour. As she rose to the top of Vogue’s masthead, André also ascended and soon became the most influential man in fashion.

The Chiffon Trenches offers a candid look at the who’s who of the last 50 years of fashion. At once ruthless and empathetic, this engaging memoir tells with raw honesty the story of how André not only survived the brutal style landscape but thrived - despite racism, illicit rumors, and all the other challenges of this notoriously cutthroat industry - to become one of the most renowned voices and faces in fashion.

Woven throughout the audiobook are also André’s own personal struggles that have impacted him over the decades, along with intimate stories of those he has turned to for inspiration (Diana Vreeland, Diane von Fürstenberg, Lee Radziwill, to name a few), and of course his Southern roots and ongoing faith, which have guided him since childhood.

The result is a highly compelling listen that captures the essence of a world few of us will ever have real access to, but one that we all want to know oh so much more about.

©2020 André Leon Talley (P)2020 Random House Audio

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What listeners say about The Chiffon Trenches

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • CB
  • 05-21-20

Another case of author's narration not working.

Too they didn't get a professional to do the narration. Mr. Talley reading does
the book no favors.

22 people found this helpful

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Great Book, If Only Someone Else Had Narrated It

I would enjoyed the book, but as much as I respect Mr. Talley's lengthy career and insights into the world of fashion, he's not a narrator. I had a hard time following due to his off-kilter, staccato delivery. It made what could have been a wonderfully entertaining read into a difficult one.

17 people found this helpful

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Missing the part that made him ’famous’ - the fashion!

I rarely write negative reviews, but wow! This book is a hard pass. I was so excited for this book, especially considering how amazing Grace Coddington’s book, ’Grace’ was.

The book is boring, bitter, and comes a cross deeply narcissistic.

Talley is condescending in his tone, and I am left not sure what his great contribution to Vogue or fashion was? There is very little ’fashion’ in this book, or his impact, (or even gossip) just his struggle being black and lecturing what he assumes is a white audience about his black experience with whiteness, classism and his sexuality. All of that would be fine, if he tied it back to fashion, but he doesn't.

He just meanders monotonously. I left the book thinking, wow, this book started with an analogy to Beyonce and impact, but Andre Leon Talley is definitely not the fashion industry's version of Beyonce.

14 people found this helpful

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Sad Man

Horribly pretentious recollection of the fashion world of Vogue and French designers by a wannabe ..... Tidbits about Warhall and Halston have been told before.

Leon's origin story was very interesting until be becomes so smitten with Karl Lagerfeld that I almost stopped listening.

He uses the book to complain about Anna Wintour but all buts begs her to talk to him again.... Pathetic end of a career.

His phony semi British accent gets annoying and his slavish groveling
around "important people" is obnoxious ... Poor man, desperately needs therapy.
Unless u r a fashionista of the 80's, you'll be colossally bored.

13 people found this helpful

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Most authors should not narrate their own books!

Most authors should leave the narration of their books to trained professionals, Andre Leon Talley is no exception. He was god awful. I should have bought the kindle edition, that might have made it bearable. Sadly, I had to unplug after 3 torturous hours.

9 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Maybe he can only talk down?

Being that tall but on the other hand, shocked how often he says in this book he bows to no man and then genuflects at Mrs Shelby Bryan''s every whim and Grace Coddington's too for that matter. His judgment seems right on especially when repeating burns inflicted by the late Diana Vreeland but look what happened to her. Exiting Vogue as he did to run an non-existent Russian magazine unrevealed and frankly not a lot is revealed but good fun.

8 people found this helpful

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An EMPTY life

I pity this author for his lack of self awareness. He proves the world of fashion is vapid, cold and meaningless. I hope he finds peace somehow but this book is a waste of anyone’s time.

5 people found this helpful

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For ALL fashion lovers

Amazing book. Hearing Andre’s voice is captivating. He truly takes you for a ride in The Chiffon Trenches. You won’t want to put it down. This book is for ALL fashion lovers.

4 people found this helpful

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SPECTACULAR!!!!!

Global high society, haute couture fashion gossip, scandals, the greatest names of culture and society converge and are but a tip of the iceberg-read from the very mouth of the Fashion God himself; André Leon Talley. A must read for any urchin of society, lovers of the arts, and history buffs.

4 people found this helpful

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Excellent Listen Fabulous Read Heartbreaking

Excellent read and Exquisite listen. Felt like I was sipping wine, coffee tea and crumpets while listening to a dear friend dish and confide the incredibly complex journey of his life thus far. heartbreaking at times 💔 truly I want to hug and thank Andre for sharing his time in the chiffon trenches... and the analogy isn't lost on me, his life was not all glamor and glitz... I love him more than I already had... what an incredibly resilient human being he is! just wow. Bravo! best seller bound for sure!!!!

3 people found this helpful