Under normal circumstances, asking the question, “How are you?” would likely render a habitual response. “Fine.” But as 2020—and the first few weeks of 2021—proved, there’s nothing normal about the current state of the world. Posing the same question to the famed fashion editor and author of The Chiffon Trenches: A Memoir, André Leon Talley takes me on a roller coaster of emotions that perfectly captures what we’re all feeling.
“Awful,” he starts, referring to the violent insurrection that took place at the U.S Capitol just five days before our conversation. Then comes the high points: He’s “optimistic” about the new administration. “What gives me hope for the future is President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. In with the new administration and out with an old, monstrous, fascist one,” he says. Talley’s also excited about what Bridgerton adds to diversity in television. “Shonda Rhimes, a Black woman, has redefined TV British costume drama, and brilliantly.” But most of all, Talley is feeling the love.
The legendary creative director is the newest star of Ugg’s ongoing FEEL campaign series, which spotlights the inspiring stories of icons from various industries. An icon in his own right for his decades-spanning career and impact in fashion, it might come as a surprise that Talley has been a longtime fan of the comfy footwear brand. Talley previously made headlines for pairing high fashion looks with Ugg boots while sitting front row at fashion week, and even stated that the brand is “as chic as heels for women.”
In the campaign, Talley takes us to his humble abode in White Plains, NY where he poses in the Ugg Neumel boot in one photo, and the Tasman slippers in another—with appearances from his signature fire red Norma Kamali sleeping bag coat and trademark cape. Tucked away inside his living room, Talley talks about his relationship with Ugg, his trademark uniform, and what being Black in fashion means today.
As someone who is always in an elaborate cape or coat, you’re like the poster child for coziness.
Cozy gives you security. Cozy affords you to be comfortable enough to project your best self to the world.
Is that why you chose the Norma Kamali sleeping bag coat for the campaign?
Of course. I have three red Norma Kamali coats. It basically serves as hugs for comfort. You can go out in a blizzard and you’ll be very, very warm in them. It’s oversized. It gives me a sense of being cocooned in a blanket. It’s a blanket that is thermally warm and light. It doesn’t weigh 10 pounds on your body.