“I don’t live for fashion, I live for beauty and style.” So says haute couture eminence grise André Leon Talley in the opening seconds of Kate Novack’s The Gospel According to André, and the director takes those words as gospel. The documentary is a deeply loving, frequently beautiful testament to the former Vogue editor, who rose from humble beginnings in North Carolina to become arguably the high fashion world’s first major African-American tastemaker […].
Best known for his long association with Vogue, Talley has long stood out even in the peacockish world of couture: his imposing six-and-a-half-foot profile, usually decked out in lavish capes and jackets, is as much a staple of Paris runways as flashbulbs and champagne flutes. Alongside plenty of vintage footage, Novack follows him around New York City, his home in White Plains, and his hometown of Durham throughout the summer and fall of 2016, giving fly-on-the-wall access as he dresses famous friends and mulls on the upcoming presidential election.
[Novack] seems to have an implicit understanding that shot composition is every bit as important in a documentary as in a narrative feature. She and cinematographer Bryan Sarkinen capture some wonderful imagery here, and she does deft work to weave in eye-popping runway footage from fashion eras past and present.
Andrew Barker, Variety