Simon Doonan Feels Bad About the André Leon Talley Turban Joke

No, he does not look amused. Photo: Getty Images

Simon Doonan was a little bored at the CFDA Awards ceremony last Monday, so he decided to "inject [the] proceedings with a little raucous silliness." When he took to the podium to present Belgian designer Dries Van Noten with the International Award he started by pontificating on a TV show he'd love to see happen: The Real Housewives of Antwerp (Belgian Bravo, are you listening?!). No one cracked a smile, unsurprisingly, since even if they do watch the Real Housewives of New York/Orange County (and honestly, how can one turn away from such surgically enhanced bitter souls?), that crowd would never admit it by laughing.

In the face of deafening silence, Doonan tried a different topic: André Leon Talley's turban. Talley wore the Yigal Azrouël headpiece that evening clasped with a diamond-encrusted Fred Leighton pin. Doonan suggested Talley "hock 'the fabulous diamond pin on that turban which you rented to come here tonight' and use the resulting moolah to fund my Antwerp Housewives show." Crickets chirped. Doonan writes in the New York Observer:

My intention in singling out this remarkable accessory was to express solidarity with the wearer, the majestically life-enhancing Mr. Talley.


It didn’t work.

André was not amused. The phrase “visibly affronted” would best describe his reaction. Ditto his date, Naomi Campbell … Of all the people in that room, André, the Ab-fabulous, the brilliant, was the last person on earth I wished to offend. My goal — please believe me, André dahling! — was the complete opposite. I failed.

The next morning Doonan sent Talley an effusive apology note with a side of orchids. If it's any consolation, Simon dear, the rest of the world finds your speech hilarious.

Tempest in a Turban: How Tiny Moi Vexed André the Great [NYO]