One-of-a-kind fashion personality and former Vogue editor-at-large André Leon Talley thanked his supporters on Wednesday via Instagram while steeped in a bizarre fight to remain in his mansion in Westchester, the New York Post reported.
“I cannot thank you all enough for your outpouring of love and concern,” Talley wrote on Instagram. “I am healthy in mind and spirit and am quite grateful for the many messages from dear friends and extended community.”
Talley has lived in the 11-room white colonial home since 2004, at which time former Manolo Blahnik CEO George Malkemus and Anthony Yurgaitis, Malkemus’ business partner and husband, purchased the house for roughly $1 million with the agreement that Talley would live in the house while paying Malkemus and Yurgaitis money each month to do so.
The three men signed a two-year lease stipulating that Talley would pay “rent” every month, an agreement that was renewable for up to eight years. In 2014, the lease expired and was not re-signed, at which point, the money Talley paid Malkemus and Yugaitis each month reportedly fluctuated significantly, depending on what kind of income Talley had coming in.
Then in November 2020, Malkemus and Yurgaitis filed to evict Talley, claiming he owed the couple $500,000 in rent. Talley, meanwhile, filed a counterclaim in late January, arguing that he’s paid back more than the purchase price of the home over the years, as well as “hundreds of thousands of dollars to third parties to maintain and improve the home,” according to court papers.
Talley further argued that he was under the impression that the “rent” payments were intended as an equity investment that would culminate in his owning the house. the New York Post originally reported on the cases.
Last May, Talley published a memoir, “The Chiffon Trenches,” that took a sharp look at the fashion industry, not allowing household names like Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld escape his scrutiny.
“As you probably know from ‘The Chiffon Trenches,’ I’ve experienced many peaks and valleys in my life and remain quite resilient,” Talley continued on Instagram. “The matter we are dealing with is unfortunate, but will be handled by my very capable legal team at this time.”
Earlier this week, stylist and designer Akeem Smith created a GoFundMe page for Talley to help raise the $500,000 that Malkemus and Yurgaitis claim they are owed.
“Everyone in fashion has benefited from Andre Leon Talley’s contribution to the industry,” Smith wrote on the page. “Andre has not asked me to do this, but I believe this is the right thing to do. I believe we all should support him now to acknowledge his lifetime’s work and the room his fearlessness made for so many of the voices and points of view that have followed him.”
As of Thursday, the page had raised $9,675. However, on Wednesday, Smith posted an update stating that the donations would be refunded to donors.
“Thank you soo [sic] much for working so swiftly on spreading the word, donating your time and money,” Smith wrote on Wednesday. “I spoke to Andre’s manager and we have concluded the best thing to do right now is return the donated funds.”
“So please don’t donate anymore funds,” he added.