Carmen Dell’Orefice

June 3, 2016 § 5 Comments

Carmen Dell’ Orefice in Ceil Chapman, Vogue, 1949. Photo: Norman Parkinson. Image via Norman Parkinson Archive.

Carmen Dell’Orefice turns eighty-five today.

Carmen Dell'Orefice photographed by Erwin Blumenfeld for Vogue, October 1947 (British Vogue, Feb. 1948)

Vogue, October 15, 1947. Photo: Erwin Blumenfeld. Image via Pinterest.

Often called the world’s oldest working model, Carmen Dell’Orefice (b. 1931) was discovered at thirteen on a New York City bus; at sixteen she had her first Vogue cover. In 2011, the London College of Fashion devoted an exhibition to her modelling work, Carmen: A Life In Fashion.

Vogue, May 1, 1951. Photo: Norman Parkinson. Via Pinterest

Carmen Dell'Orefice photographed by John Rawlings for Vogue, spring 1955

Vogue, May 1955. Photo: John Rawlings. Image via Pinterest.

Carmen Dell'Orefice in a bathing cap, photographed by Gleb Derujinsky for Harper's Bazaar, May 1958

Harper’s Bazaar, May 1958. Photo: Gleb Derujinsky. Image via Pinterest.

Dell’Orefice’s work with New York pattern companies may be seen in postwar publications from Vogue, McCall’s, and Simplicity, as well as more recent Vogue patterns.

A Richard Rutledge editorial for Vogue Pattern Book features the young Dell’Orefice in new patterns for spring, 1949 (jacket Vogue 6716 and blouses Vogue 6065 and Vogue 6707, all with skirt Vogue 6708):

VPB AprMay1949 p28top

Vogue 6716 and 6708 in Vogue Pattern Book, April/May 1949. Photo: Richard Rutledge.

VPB AprMay 1949 p28

Vogue 6065 and 6708 in Vogue Pattern Book, April/May 1949. Photo: Richard Rutledge.

VPB AprMay 1949 p28a

Vogue 6707 and 6708 in Vogue Pattern Book, April/May 1949. Photo: Richard Rutledge.

On this McCall Pattern Book cover from Summer, 1957, she models McCall’s 4095 and 4097:

McCalls PB Summer 1957

McCall’s Pattern Book, Summer 1957. Image: eBay.

Here, Dell’Orefice poses in an all-red ensemble for the cover of Simplicity magazine, Fall 1958:

Carmen Dell'Orefice on the cover of Simplicity magazine, fall 1958

Simplicity magazine, Fall-Winter 1958. Image: eBay.

Here she wears gown Vogue 9827 on the cover of Vogue Pattern Book’s holiday issue:

Carmen Dell'Orefice wears Vogue 9827 - Vogue Pattern Book, December/January 1959-1960

Vogue 9827 on the cover of Vogue Pattern Book, December/January 1959-1960. Image via Make Mine Vogue.

1980s

After a break, Dell’Orefice returned to modelling in the late 1970s. On these two patterns from the ’80s, she wears Vogue 8195, a caftan-style dress, and Arlene Dahl gown Vogue 8521 in gold lamé:

Carmen Dell'Orefice on a 1980s Vogue pattern, V8195

Vogue 8195 (ca. 1982) Image via the Vintage Pattern Wiki.

1980s Arlene Dahl dress pattern featuring Carmen Dell'Orefice, Vogue 8521

Vogue 8521 by Arlene Dahl (ca. 1980s) Image via Etsy.

1990s

In the later 1990s, Dell’Orefice posed for many patterns in The Vogue Woman line. Vogue 1972 is a seasonless wardrobe pattern, while Vogue 9821 is a dress and tunic suitable for petites:

Carmen Dell'Orefice models 1990s The Vogue Woman pattern Vogue 1972

Vogue 1972 (1997) Image via Etsy.

Carmen Dell'Orefice models 1990s Vogue 9821

Vogue 9821 (1998) Image via eBay.

Happy birthday, Ms. Dell’Orefice!

Carmen Dell'Orefice on the runway, Florence 2011

Alberta Ferretti fashion show, Florence, 2011. Image: Getty / Vogue Italia.

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