Andre Leon Talley Dishes on ANTM

February 8, 2010 • Lifestyle

New judge Andre Leon Talley (left) joins the panel of Tyra Banks of Nigel Barker for ANTM's cycle 14

Here's a piece of America's Next Top Model Trivia: eight years ago, when host and creator Tyra Banks was playing around with the idea of making a reality show themed exclusively on up and coming models, she approached Vogue's editor-at-large Andre Leon Talley to be one of the show's first judges. Unsure as to how it would fly, Talley said thanks but no thanks. Now that that little show has blossomed into the phenomenon America's Next Top Model, Banks swallowed her pride enough to approach Talley again for the series' 14th cycle—and Talley has changed his tune. “I’ve seen the success of Tyra in many facets of her life,” said
Talley. “So I felt maybe I could contribute something to it
that had not been on the show.
I just felt that it was a way to step
out of the box and associate myself with a very important American
success story, a very important brand — Tyra Banks.”

Today, having wrapped filming for the first of three seasons he has signed on to do, Talley's "contributions" are already causing quite a buzz. He replaced the show's catwalk coach J. Alexander on the judging panel (fear not, Miss J is just going back to sharing his skills as a runway diva, not leaving the show) after receiving the blessing of his boss, Vogue's frosty matriarch Anna Wintour. Wintour told WWD through her spokesman, André is always onto new things on
television, and I think his latest adventure sounds like a lot of fun
and I look forward to watching him on the program.”
Hm, right. Well even if she's not watching, we definitely will be as Talley unleashes his signature style onto the reality show, hopefully driving it in a direction that it has always tried to become—high (and not just commercial) fashion. He's even got a carefully crafted onscreen wardrobe: a series of 13 Chado Ralph Rucci custom-made cloaks that, according to Talley, are "based on 17th-century Edo samurai tunic-coats". We would tune in just to see that!

Speaking of clothes, Banks herself admits to toning down her outlandish, borderline drag queen style, now that Talley has joined the team. “This is the most clean you will ever see me in the history of ‘Top
’” she said. “I am wearing a chignon every single day. I went
back to Yves Saint Laurent 1991, honey. I said, ‘This is André Leon
Talley! No earrings, no nothing. Just me and the gahhment.’” Thank goodness, since we were all tiring of the Barabrella bouffant weave and scary, black lipstick she used to prefer. Beyond his meticulous eye for high class style, Talley has also been lending his skills in fashion vernacular. The newly-minted judge already reportedly crafted catchphrases to sling at the poor contestants for when they don't quite measure up. “Dreckitude,” a melding of dreck, one of his “favorite” words, and “quackitude,” a term he’d heard Rachel Maddow use
on her show is his new favorite.“‘Dreckitude’ was whipped out when I thought the challenge
was not met or if [the contestants] showed up in perhaps an outfit that
I just couldn’t wrap my mind around,” Talley explained. Brilliant! This little tidbits are already making us hungry for mor but luckily we dont have to wait too long to see Talley and Tyra work their magic on the small screen. America's Next Top Model's 14 cycle premiers March 10th on the CW network.

Article and Photo Source: WWD
-Alia Rajput

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