Carmen Dell’Orefice

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.

6 thoughts on “Carmen Dell’Orefice

  1. Wonderful to see my favorite model of all time. I’ve followed her career since the beginning. Many, many more, Carmen

  2. Lovely post about a beautiful lady. Thank you for sharing with us fashion history nerds (fashion history includes models). Happy Birthday to Carmen!

  3. Ms Dell’Orefice is a fantastic example of an older working wiman. My whole life i wanted to do modelling. I really admire her.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.