Fashion editor André Leon Talley’s flair for the dramatic can read as ridiculous, depending on your stance on burnt-orange judicial robes.

Rather than dwelling on his theatrical persona, director Kate Novack (executive producer of Page One: Inside The New York Times) gives serious consideration to the former Vogue editor-at-large, who overcame the racism of the American south to become one of fashion journalism’s most important voices.

Talley resisted a biographical documentary for years and one can feel that resistance continue here. We never learn why he was raised by his grandmother in Durham, N.C. (his parents lived in Washington, D.C.) and his admission that he has never been in love is underexplored.

The word “gay” is mentioned only once, when Talley is unpacking the venom of “Queen Kong,” a slur he encountered while working in Paris.

But Novack does peel back Talley’s velvet scarves to reveal a rags-to-custom-caftans story that holds universal appeal, whether you know your Badgley Mischka from your Mischa Barton or not.

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