André Leon Talley: eviction, bankruptcy and fashion Grift


The lines are further blurred by the fact that in fashion, professional relationships are often maintained in non-professional settings: on a beach for a photoshoot, where everyone stays in the same resort; during a dinner at Caviar Kaspia in Paris, to celebrate a show. It was common practice in glossy magazines to hire certain “editors” because of their social connections so they could push their friends to become subjects.

Indeed, it was in part because he enjoyed Karl Lagerfeld’s favor so clearly, Mr Talley writes in his memoir, that he was so important to Vogue. And he enjoyed Mr. Lagerfeld’s favor, in part because he believed so clearly and vocally in his talent.

In this context, the idea that a friend, even if his business was visibly linked to Mr. Talley’s, would offer to step in and help him buy a house when he was in trouble probably did not seem absurd. Mainly because Mr. Malkemus had acted as his proxy before.

In 2004, according to Mr. Talley’s affidavit, Mr. Talley was forced to leave his New York apartment because of the mold. Partly because Mr Talley (for whom the money was worth seeing just as a way to buy the beautiful things he dreamed of) had run into financial trouble three times before – he filed for bankruptcy in Carolina North in 1997 and 1998, and New York in 1993, largely because of non-payment of taxes – getting a mortgage would be complicated.

So Mr Malkemus and Mr Yurgaitis offered to act as Mr Talley’s attorneys: to buy the house and hold the mortgage – this is what Mr Talley’s lawsuit says, which claims that he was acting in good faith that he would one day become the owner of the property. He also paid, according to his affidavit, to maintain and improve the property, including spending $ 12,000 for a new boiler and $ 30,000 to replace the roof.

Since in 1999 Mr. Talley claims that Mr. Malkemus helped him buy a car in the same way – for reasons not specified in the affidavit, Mr. Talley was “unable to do it myself. So he telegraphed Mr. Malkemus about $ 45,000, the newspapers say, and Mr. Malkemus “went to a dealership and used those funds to buy the vehicle on my behalf” – there was precedent.

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