Anna Wintour was brought to tears when she spoke at her friend and former colleague Andre Leon Talley’s funeral at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem on Friday.
“She talked about their friendship,” a source who attended the service told Page Six. “But what took her over was when she told the story about Andre crossing the Atlantic to be with her when her mother died.” The source told us, “Her words were: ‘He crossed the Atlantic to be with me when my mother died,’ and that’s when she welled up.”
“It was very intentional as if she wanted everyone to see her emotions,” the source said –adding that Wintour made sure to look at attendees as she read. The Vogue icon did not wear her signature shades when she spoke, we hear.
Another source, who described the memorial as a “traditional Black homegoing celebration,” said Wintour “didn’t break down, but she had to pause after she started talking about her mother.”
“It was clear she was having a hard time getting through it. I don’t think she was expecting to cry, but she definitely got emotional. Her speech was definitely the most heartfelt,” they said.
Designer Marc Jacobs and supermodel Naomi Campbell also “cried a little” during their speeches, we’re told.
But Talley’s funeral wasn’t all tears, and it felt like a New York Fashion Week reunion. Sources told us Diane von Furstenberg organized the service and “it was literally like a fashion show,” the second source said.
“There were four publicists at the door with iPads checking names. There were photographers, a big white vintage Rolls Royce that Naomi arrived and left in, and all of the fashion people were there,” they said.
Campbell “looked like a goddess” in a big white fur and hat, and said Talley would’ve wanted that during her speech, we’re told. The supermodel said of her late friend, “When we felt we couldn’t get through a door that was closed to us, he pushed it open for me and got me to do things I didn’t think I could.”
We hear that DVF said of Talley: “You had more class and elegance than anyone I’ve ever met. We laughed and sometimes fought, as you weren’t always easy,” which got laughs from his friends in the crowd.
Carolina Herrera said in remembrance, “You were the fashion historian of our time.”
Jacobs told the gathering, “This past month I’ve been rereading all of his wonderful letters and notes that I treasure… Letters he wrote on his oversized stationary and bold handwriting. When emails first arrived, his notes were filled with capitals and colorful emojis, he used all the symbols. He was my high priest of fashion.”
Singer Valerie Simpson spoke about how Talley loved to party at her Upper Westside restaurant, Sugar Bar, where he’d play the tambourine. She then played the piano and blood “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing.”
Talley’s pastor, Rev. Calvin Butts, delivered the eulogy, and he had the congregation — including Harlem’s Bevy Smith — “feeling the spirit in church.”
“People were standing up and clapping and singing along to the gospel choir. It was a very Black baptist church experience,” the second source said.
Grace Coddington, Sandra Bernhard, Bethann Hardison, Kate Moss, Gayle King, Fashion Bomb editor Claire Sulmers, Kimora Lee Simmons, Dario Calmese and Native Son founder Emil Wilbekin were a few of the other mourners who packed the church.
Talley died Jan. 18 at the age of 73. He joined Vogue in 1983 as fashion news director and eventually became the magazine’s first Black creative director and, later its editor-at-large.
“Amidst a lifetime of memories of Andre, I will never forget his kindness, his chivalry, and his friendship,” Wintour wrote in Vogue.