You may consider them “Ugg-ly” (sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves), but André Leon Talley, former Vogue editor-at-large turned bestselling author of 2020's The Chiffon Trenches considers his “wardrobes upon wardrobes of Ugg” footwear “comfort food for [his] feet,” according to a press release announcing him as the new face of the brand (h/t Page Six).
However you feel about the California-based sheepskin brand formerly associated with early aughts cutoff-wearing Hollywood starlets, it can’t be denied that Ugg is once again having a moment—understandable, since the constraints of quarantine have made comfort-core not just a mood but a movement. Last fall, in-demand designer Telfar announced a collab with the brand which included a sheepskin version of his cult-favorite branded tote and instantly sold out everywhere when it debuted. With the addition of the 72-year-old, 6-foot-6-inch Talley to its roster of talent, Ugg is sending a clear message that their products aren’t just for petite blondes who favor ironic footwear.
“I thought at first Ugg had a connotation of being tacky. People said, ‘Oh, I would never be caught wearing an Ugg,’” Talley said in an interview posted on the brand’s website. “I said it for a very long time too, and then I found an Ugg and put it on. It’s extraordinary and it’s a confidence boost.”
In a tongue-in-cheek campaign promo for the brand filmed on the porch of his home in White Plains, N.Y., Talley acknowledges his stature as the first Black man to reach the upper echelons of Vogue parent company Condé Nast. Nevertheless, he dismisses the moniker of “fashion icon,” despite still being one of the most recognizable figures in fashion.
“I’m not a person that’s just going to blow my own trumpet. I don’t consider myself an icon. Not at all,” he says.
Talley presented Ugg’s parent company Decker Brands with the Company of the Year Award at the 2020 Footwear News Awards—the Oscars of footwear. A montage during his video presentation includes pictures of Talley wearing Uggs front row of fashion runways around the globe, confirming that, like his ubiquitous caftans, his love for Uggs is legendary.
“Everyone knows; I am the number one Ugg fan!” he exclaims, explaining that he monograms his pairs to make them extra special—in his estimation, as special as any of the dress shoes he’s equally known for, as he states in the Ugg interview (h/t Page Six).
“As beautiful as your foot looks in these custom-made shoes, there’s nothing as comfortable as wearing an Ugg slipper,” says Talley. “I have no shame. I am very proud of Ugg and I love wearing Ugg.”