August Book Club Pick

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Welcome back to the Tranquility du Jour book club!

From one bibliophile to another, I’d love to read stories with you that move us and make us think and to open up important conversations to encourage reflection and deeper understanding.

Together we’ll read books and discuss them over in our TDJ Insider’s Facebook group and hopefully in person someday soon. You in? Hope so!

August Book

The Chiffon Trenches: A Memoir by André Leon Talley

Description from Penguin Random House

From the pages of Vogue to the runways of Paris, this deeply revealing memoir by a legendary style icon captures the fashion world from the inside out, in its most glamorous and most cutthroat moments.

The Chiffon Trenches honestly and candidly captures fifty sublime years of fashion.”—Manolo Blahnik

During André Leon Talley’s first magazine job, alongside Andy Warhol at Interview, a fateful meeting with Karl Lagerfeld began a decades-long friendship with the enigmatic, often caustic designer. Propelled into the upper echelons by his knowledge and adoration of fashion, André moved to Paris as bureau chief of John Fairchild’s Women’s Wear Daily, befriending fashion’s most important designers (Halston, Yves Saint Laurent, Oscar de la Renta). But as André made friends, he also made enemies. A racially tinged encounter with a member of the house of Yves Saint Laurent sent him back to New York and into the offices of Vogue under Grace Mirabella.

There, he eventually became creative director, developing an unlikely but intimate friendship with Anna Wintour. As she rose to the top of Vogue’s masthead, André also ascended, and soon became the most influential man in fashion.

The Chiffon Trenches offers a candid look at the who’s who of the last fifty years of fashion. At once ruthless and empathetic, this engaging memoir tells with raw honesty the story of how André not only survived the brutal style landscape but thrived—despite racism, illicit rumors, and all the other challenges of this notoriously cutthroat industry—to become one of the most renowned voices and faces in fashion.

Woven throughout the book are also André’s own personal struggles that have impacted him over the decades, along with intimate stories of those he has turned to for inspiration (Diana Vreeland, Diane von Fürstenberg, Lee Radziwill, to name a few), and of course his Southern roots and ongoing faith, which have guided him since childhood.

The result is a highly compelling read that captures the essence of a world few of us will ever have real access to, but one that we all want to know oh so much more about.

Why I Chose It

I wanted to choose a book by a Black author and I loved the documentary The Gospel According to André. I also thought a style book would be an enjoyable escape for us. Fun fact: André once came to Tranquil Space!

How to Join

Read the book (here’s a list of black-owned bookstores or download via an e-reader) and join us over on the TDJ Insider’s Facebook group for discussion. Look for the pinned post about the book. I’ll share a few thoughts and prompts by mid-month and welcome you to share favorite quotes and takeaways throughout the month.