SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — People around the country are mourning the loss of a groundbreaking figure in the fashion world.  

André Leon Talley was the former editor of Vogue and a larger-than-life figure in the fashion industry.     

He was the subject of the documentary “The Gospel According to André” and his recent memoir, “The Chiffon Trenches,” became a New York Times Best Seller.

Word of his death touched students, alumni and faculty at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) where Talley served on the board of trustees.

“When it comes to André, he left behind so much, not just for me. I know he touched me. He touched millions and he may be gone but never forgotten,” SCAD graduate Daniette Thomas said.

Thomas says the school can be intimidating for those trying to find their way in fashion but Talley’s mentorship was invaluable.

“Going to SCAD, you really don’t know what to expect. It’s the ‘University of Creative Careers.’ So as a fashion student, we all are competing literally against each other,” Thomas explained.

Talley served on the board for over 13 years and often spent time with its students, helping them evolve into the artist they worked to become.

“He really encouraged me and let me know that I have a sense of style and sometimes you have to just go with your gut to know what’s right,” Thomas said of Talley.

“And you can’t be manipulated by who you’re dressing, but you can also can’t be manipulated by other people’s opinions. At this point in my career, he was letting me know that I’m the expert. I know style. I understand it. I’ve studied it long enough. I can be influenced by trends but don’t go far from the core,” the SCAD grad said about staying true to oneself.

Talley was a giant in the fashion world whose legacy will live on in the students he inspired.

President Paula Wallace with Andre Leon Talley (SCAD)

SCAD president Paula Wallace released a statement about the passing of Talley, which reads: “[Talley] embodied the soul of wit and perception. He was a son of the South who reclaimed his roots at SCAD after spending his entire career in New York and Paris. He was respected, admired, and acclaimed at SCAD.”

Talley was the first recipient of the SCAD Lifetime Achievement Award in Fashion in 2001. He also received an honorary doctorate of humanities from the school.