André Leon Talley a huge Harlem fan and friend of George Faison at the Harlem Fire house Theater, and a big fan of Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster has resigned from his post as editor at large of Numéro Russia after just a year on the job. Talley told WWD Thursday that his decision to quit had nothing to do with the magazine, but instead Russia’s stance on homosexuality.
“The one thing that really impacted me was Rachel Maddow’s reporting last winter on the anti-LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] laws in Russia,” Talley said. “There are no civil rights for people there. That’s one of my reason for departing.”
Talley offered that Maddow’s reports “stunned him into consciousness” and that, as a result, he’d been thinking seriously about leaving Numéro since Christmas.
The final straw came when newsstand distributors wouldn’t sell the magazine’s March issue, which was put together by Talley and shot by Tom Ford, because it featured a nude male model on the cover with Pat Cleveland. Talley and Ford scrambled to select another, more conservative photo, which depicted the model in a camel-colored suit, but Numéro went with a different cover in the end.
“It was a backwards situation,” Talley said, explaining that while Numéro Russia’s publisher, Alexander Fedotov, backed him up completely, he was disappointed that Ford’s time was wasted in the process.
With 13 covers under his belt for Numéro and some “great times,” the editor added that he’s had a “wonderful relationship” with Fedotov and that he may work with him in the future.
Still, there is the issue of payment. Talley hasn’t been paid for February, March and April work, but he stressed that he’s OK with that. Ironically, at the time he accepted the Numéro job, he told WWD that the salary offered by the magazine was part of his decision to leave Vogue, where he was on staff.
“Money isn’t everything but it is when you start thinking about putting money away for your retirement days,” he said at the time. “Anna [Wintour] was very sympathetic and understood and she decided we remain on good terms and that I do the digital and the online. And I’m very happy to do it.”
Fast forward to today and it’s a bit of a different story. The editor said that while Numéro offered to advance him almost half of his salary for 2014, he declined to accept it in November because he was already thinking of leaving. Still, he produced the February, March and April issues, and hasn’t received a check to date.
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“Me not taking the money was me taking the moral high ground,” Talley said of the salary advance. “There has been no discussion about them not paying me [for the three issues] and I’m fine not discussing it. It’s been a pleasure working on the magazine.”
He remains a contributing editor at Vogue and he’s the artistic director of Amazon-owned Zappos Couture.
Although he said there is nothing else on the horizon, he’s OK with that, too (source).