Sunday, October 23, 2011

Carmen Dell'Orefice

Whit 66 years in the business, Carmen Dell'Orefice can truly be called the longest working model of all time! She was born in 1931 and started her career at US "Vogue" in 1945. Since then she has graced the cover of this magazine six times, landed 14 cosmetics campaigns, and been photographed by Richard Avedon, Irving Penn and Cecil Beaton, to name just a few. She also became Salvador Dalí's muse. And today, at the age of 80, she's still working as a model - looking as gorgeous as ever! Here's a few pictures from her long career:

Vogue, 1946
Revlon ad, 1954
Julliard Wool ad, 1948

The Redd Dress Collection, 2005
Rolex ad

Yep, she's 80...This is one cool lady!


  1. I've never seen her a young woman - of course she was stunning. If I am 1/4 as cool as her when I am 80 I will be thrilled.

  2. I think she's more beautiful now than when she was younger!
    Her ethereal beauty is truly inspiring but this cavalcade is also a sad example of that fashion models have always been superthin and skinny. It´s not a new thing. In my opinion, many of the pictures from her younger years she looks anorectic. Bones sticking out and so on...

  3. I also hope I will look at least half as good as Carmen when I'm eighty - if I make it that far...

    Lillgull: The truth about her skinnyness is that she and her mother were very poor when Carmen started to model. She was actually so malnourished that "famed fashion photographers Horst P. Horst and Cecil Beaton had to pin back dresses and stuff her body with tissue." - According to Wikipedia. Carmen even roller-skated to photo shoots to save money on buss fares. So at least for her (compared to many models of today) she didn't chose to starve herself, it happened naturally - if that's what you can call it...But I agree about the anorectic ideal being completely sick! I'm very skinny by nature, and I get really pissed off when people wonders if I have an eating disorder - at the same time others say they envy my slim figure...Hm...

  4. wow those old photos are so beautiful, i tried to pick a favourite but i couldn't i love them all! and she still looks equally gorgeous and stylish now! if I look that good at 40 never mind 80 i'll be very pleased! x

  5. Hope we can agree that looking anorectic and being it is not the same.. I think you look beautiful and healthy.

    In the way I meant the comment about Carmens weight is entirely from a concern of well-being for her and others if I see something disturbing in Elle or Vouge- and not envy or in a moral point of view!
    People are thin or fat or in the middle! Vive la differancé! :) I wish for self-love and appreciation of life for all.
    I just feel bad or worry if I see someone that I think might not be feeling so good- Slim or big !

    I think many models tries to excuse their slim bodies as natural thin or something like that. And there is definitely a prestige in saying that you can stay thin effortlesly of by natural causes.

    Have just read the quintessential style guide "Högklack till långbyx?" av Kim Söderlund (famous Swedish photo model in those days) published in 1951 and a book called Skönhetsbok by Anita Colby published in 1955. Have also read a few other beauty and styleguides from that era. I can strongly recommend any follower of vintage style to do the same. So many cool tips and such a good insight of the life of a woman in those days.

    How ever, both books have a really condescending view of overweight women. The reader is understood that of course I Don't have a problem with my weight I have always been thin but if you aren't -Carpe Diem, just change it by will power! So much for taking dieting advice from someone claiming to be naturally thin... Hehehehe! What would she know about weight loosing metods!!?

    So my thoughts are that the value of ones weight in the beauty and fashion industry and media isn't new.

    And if Carmen would have been considered too thin and unhealthy-looking(then) she would never have been casted as a model to sell anything. But she wasn't, they just stuffed her bra instead of feeding her a cream cheese bagel or two after her long rollerskate ride.

    Also there is the subject of keeping things, personal matters and struggles in the closet. This seems to me to have been the accepted way back then. You didn´t say you were starving yourself if you where a model or ballerina or chorus girl. Not back then and not now! Maybe now it´s more in the open and the demands are heavier than before...
    I feel bad for the poor thin models that struggle and sacrifice their bodies for the love of the industry or the longing of greatness and stardom.

    Quite a long one but I just wanted to explain so there s no hard feelings!
    Love /Susanne

  6. Of corse there are no hard feelings, and you're right in what you say about peoples weight. I think everyone should be allowed to look however they want, as long as they feel good! Did you know there's an island somewhere (can't remember the name) where little girls are force fed really fatty foods to gain as much weight as possible?! Big women are the ideal look there...The world is a strange and contradictory place sometimes... :)

    Will definitely check out those books! Thank's for the tip! xx


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