Carmen Dell’Orefice – Fashion’s Oldest Working Model, an Octogenarian Icon
- Guest Post by Eva Von
- The irony of an 80-year-old octogenarian model is unbelievable, but astoundingly fabulous. She is a Fashion icon who has graced the runway for over 65 years, delivering unmatched poise and power to the stage. Carmen Dell’Orefice recently celebrated her 82nd birthday. At the tender age of 15 she graced the cover of Vogue in 1947. She now continues to own the runway with timeless elegance, crafting iconic imagery in the progression. A native of New York City, Carmen was spotted by the wife of a photographer, getting off of a City bus; she earned $7 for modeling for Salvador Dalí. She later went to work for some of the most distinguished photographers including Beaton, Parkinson and Avedon.
She modeled primarily to help support both her destitute parents that came to America as immigrants, mother Hungarian and father Italian. Carmen Dell’Orefice was quoted saying: “As a model, I didn’t have an identity; I was a chameleon, a silent actress. I was an amorphous thing. I wasn’t full of personality; I was full of solitude and solemnity. I wasn’t a cover-girl type. I’ve had more covers in the past 15 years than I had in all the years before that.”
Despite her challenges; notably a recent double-knee replacement Carmen continues to captivate the stage and our hearts with her impervious haughtiness; her career is extraordinarily lengthy and illustrious noting a few brief attempts at retirement. Carmen was married three times and has only one daughter, Laura.