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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ANDRE is a documentary on fashion icon, André Leon Talley. When the film opens, André states his view on life and the fashion world – his Gospel. He stresses that it is beauty not fashion that rules. He continues to say that it is important to share the beauty with people you respect and love.
Those in the fashion industry know André by name. Those who are not, might have noticed him in recent documentaries. He appears in any doc in which fashion is involved. It is difficult not to notice him. He is an African American and a towering big man.
Besides being famous in the fashion industry, André has put Afro Americans on the map of fashion.
Director Novak’s doc follows the same route as most biographies on famous people. She informs the audience of the subject’s background and what factors influenced him to become the celebrity he is. André grew up poor, from the South who was brought up by his grandmother, Bennie Frances Davis, a maid on Duke’s campus, who supported him by cleaning from dawn to dusk. She taught him the importance of discipline and respect while cooking him all kinds of cakes and pies which made him the size he became to be. The one thing that he looked forward to every week was going to the all coloured church, where all the folk wore their Sunday best. His grandmother, did the same and owned a big collection of hats. Novak also documents, through interviews Andre’s climb to fame. Like every celebrity, there are demons to be exorcised. In Andre’s case, it is his weight. He is not shy to show himself at a diet centre trying to lose many of the pounds he had put on. Still, he maintained his fabulousness, always wearing the most outlandish outfits. André made his name from being the editor of the fashion magazine Vogue. Director Novak has many past Vogue editors talk about André.
Novak has assembled quite an impressive cast of interviewees that include celebrities like Whoopi Goldberg (though she only appears once), Mets Annual sponsorship dinner organizer and Vogue editor Anna Wintour, Tamron Hall, Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, Diane von Furstenberg, Whoopi Goldberg, Valentino, Manolo Blahnik, Maureen Dowd, Fran Lebowitz, Eboni Marshall Turman, super model Naomi Campbell and the late comedienne Sandra Bernhard.
Those in the fashion business will be in for quite a treat with this comprehensive look at the industry while those are not, will learn quite bit including learning who’s who in fashion. The clothes, gowns, jackets, dresses, hats and shoes on display are out of this world.
André is revealed to be a kind person, not proud and visibly upset at poor taste rumours spread about him. He also is proud to say that he has done drugs like cocaine. André is one fabulous, larger than life personality who has worked hard to get to where he is. For this reason alone, there can be a lot to be learnt from this man.