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TALKING TALLEY: Vanity Fair checks in with André Leon Talley in its September issue. The lengthy profile, by contributing editor Vanessa Grigoriadis, who won a National Magazine Award for a profile of Karl Lagerfeld in New York, presents Talley as fashion’s last link to its past and the perennial insider — “This is the only man who could see Anna in her underwear,” said one unnamed Vogue editor, referring to Anna Wintour. Talley is also a living embodiment of the limits of racial progress in fashion and media, the most prominent black figure in fashion who never became an editor in chief of a major magazine. “What person of color do you know who’s in a position like that, be it a man or a woman, unless it’s Essence magazine?” Talley says. Though he sounds melancholy at times — “I just said to a friend, ‘I can create this magic, so why don’t I have a lover?’” he says at one point — Talley claims no regrets. Earlier this year, he added another notch to his résumé: editor at large of the Russian edition of the fashion magazine Numero, which took him away from regular duties at Vogue (he told WWD the paycheck was bigger) but his relationship with Wintour is unchanged, he tells Vanity Fair. “I wouldn’t have stayed at Vogue as long as I did without Anna being there,” he says. In his free time, he still gets to play stylist to fashion victim friends, like The New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd. Once, Dowd was about to leave for a gala and felt “ethereal” in her gown, until Talley picked up her skirt and declared disapprovingly, “Tulle. Blanche DuBois.”