Speaking in a conversation with Washington Post fashion critic Robin Givhan, Talley called the first lady "selective," noting that she has been very intentional with her fashion decisions.
"You also worked for Melania Trump when she was -- " Givhan began, but Talley cut her off, shaking his head.
"That was then," he said to laughter and applause from the high-fashion audience.
"Melania is very selective and she chooses her looks carefully, and there's obviously a great deal of preparation for the looks. I think that she is indeed a very, very confident person and she chooses carefully for the clothes that look great on her. And it is always her choice," Talley said.
Speaking to Larry King as a newlywed in 2005, Trump called
Talley a "great friend" with whom she had "a lot of fun" planning her nuptials, which took place in Palm Beach, Florida.
"I loved my dress. I had a great time in Paris, I went with my great friend André Leon Talley. He's an amazing man and we went to Paris for one week to the shows," Trump had said.
Talley recalled Trump's "impeccable" manners during their trip: "When I helped her with her wedding trousseau, it was an assignment from Vogue and I flew with Melania. ... She went to all the great couture houses, and the great thing about Melania is her manners. She was very impressive that the couture houses were very impressed that she was not the arrogant Mrs. Trump ... She was so impeccable in her manners, in the way she spoke to people and she was so charming."
Trump chose a John Galliano Dior dress for the wedding.
"Allegedly, reportedly, it was $230,000 then," Talley said of the dress, which took eight hours to fit.
Twelve years later, the friends have fallen out of touch.
"I can only say that was then. And then I saw Melania a bit after she was married and I've lost contact with her, so that was then," Talley said Wednesday.
The style icon did have high praise for Trump's powder blue inaugural Ralph Lauren suit.
"I mean, that was beautiful. Let's face it. Give her credit. ... And she walked down the street for two minutes in the stilettos," he said.
"Personally, I've never seen anyone, except Melania Trump, who can walk for hours or stand in four-and-a-half inch stilettos. She wore them at her wedding all through the night," he added, noting that she wore two separate pairs.
The first lady has been particular about her fashion choices, opting for solid color dresses, usually slightly below-the-knee, in her few public appearances since her husband took office.
She drew some criticism for the outfit worn in her official portrait, an Italian-made Dolce and Gabbana tuxedo jacket.
He had kind words for Trump's predecessor, Michelle Obama, whom he said will "go down in history as one of the great first ladies like Eleanor Roosevelt."
Talley was responsible for Michelle Obama's first Vogue cover in 2009
, interviewing the then-first lady at the Hay-Adams Hotel and assisting on her photo shoot for the magazine.
"I was so very proud of that. When Anna (Wintour) gave me that assignment, I knew that she really, really thought a lot of me," he said.