March 6, 2019

The Oldest Living Supermodel: Stunning Photos of Carmen Dell'Orefice in the 1940s and 1950s

Born 1931 in New York City, American model and actress Carmen Dell'Orefice was approached to model by the wife of photographer Herman Landschoff while riding a bus to ballet class at the age of 13.

In 1946, her godfather introduced her to Vogue and the 15-year-old signed a modeling contract for $7.50 an hour. She became a favorite model of photographer Erwin Blumenfeld who shot her first Vogue cover in 1946. She appears in the December 15, 1947 issue of US Vogue as Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White and Cinderella along with model Dorian Leigh, actors Ray Bolger and Jose Ferrer.

Portrait of young Carmen Dell'orefice

Dell'Orefice and her mother struggled financially, and her modeling income was not enough to sustain the family. With no telephone, Vogue had to send runners to their apartment to let Dell'Orefice know about modeling jobs. She roller-skated to assignments to save on bus fares. She was so malnourished that famed fashion photographers Horst P. Horst and Cecil Beaton had to pin back dresses and stuff the curves with tissue.

In 1947, Dell'Orefice's rate was raised to $10–$25 per hour. She appeared on the October 1947 cover of Vogue at age 16, one of the youngest Vogue cover models, and also on Vogue's November 1948 cover. She worked with the most famous fashion photographers of the era, and was painter Salvador Dalí's muse.

Dell'Orefice is known within the fashion industry for being the world's oldest working model as of the Spring/Summer 2012 season. Her daily motto is to enjoy herself, at no-one else's expense.

Take a look at these stunning photos to see the glamorous beauty of Carmen Dell'orefice in the 1940s and 1950s.

Carmen Dell' Orefice in tulle gown by Jay Thorpe, photo by Erwin Blumenfeld, Vogue 1946

Carmen Dell' Orefice in white eyelet dress by Sophie of Saks Fifth Avenue, hat by Tatiana du Plessix, photo by Cecil Beaton, Vogue, July 1946

Carmen Dell' Orefice in chiffon evening dress by unidentified designer, photo by Horst, Vogue, 1947

Carmen Dell' Orefice in green velvet dress, glass bead necklace and bracelet by Lisner, pumps by Capezio, gloves by Kislav, photo by Richard Rutledge, Vogue, 1947

Carmen Dell' Orefice in lace dress by Hattie Carnegie, photo by Horst, 1947

Carmen Dell' Orefice by John Rawlings, used for Vogue cover of Nov. 1948

Carmen Dell' Orefice in beige silk jacquard dress, photo by Horst, 1948

Carmen Dell' Orefice as seen in Vogue, 1949

Carmen Dell' Orefice in dotted wool suit by Jane Derby, mink scarf by Fredrica, hat by Chanda, gloves by Aris, photo by Erwin Blumenfeld, Vogue, 1949

Carmen Dell' Orefice in gown by Ceil Chapman for American Vogue 1949

Carmen Dell' Orefice in strapless black piqué dress with full skirt, wide-brimmed hat and butterfly necklace, photo by Clifford Coffin, Glamour, 1949

Carmen Dell' Orefice in delicate, drifting gown of tulle and iridescent embroidery from Elizabeth Arden Fashion Floor, taken in Elizabeth Arden's apartment, Harper's Bazaar, April 1951

Carmen Dell' Orefice, photo by Tony Vaccaro, Puerto Rico, October 1951

Carmen in Royal Pastel EMBA mink wrap-stole by A.J. Blatte, dress by Ceil Chapman, diamond earrings by Harry Winston, photo by Virginia Thoren, Harper's Bazaar, February 1951

Carmen in apricot wool skirt and coat by Donnybrook, photo by Frances McLaughlin-Gill, 1952

Carmen Dell' Orefice , photo by Milton Greene for LOOK, 1953

Carmen Dell' Orefice in strapless corselet, photo by Norman Parkinson for 'Vogue Beauty Book', 1953

Carmen Dell' Orefice in gown by Lanvin-Castillo, photo by Milton Greene, LOOK, February 11, 1954

Carmen Dell' Orefice is wearing coat by Jacques Fath, photo by Georges Dambier, Paris, 1954

Carmen Dell' Orefice, photo by Milton Greene, 1954

Carmen Dell' Orefice, photo by Milton Greene, LOOK, February 11, 1954

Carmen Dell' Orefice, photo by Milton Greene, LOOK, February 11, 1954

Carmen Dell' Orefice, photo by Milton Greene, LOOK, February 11, 1954

Carmen Dell' Orefice, photo by Milton Greene, LOOK, February 11, 1954

Carmen Dell' Orefice, photo by Milton Greene, LOOK, February 11, 1954

Carmen Dell' Orefice, photo by Milton Greene, Manalapan Beach, Florida, LOOK magazine, March 22, 1954

Carmen Dell' Orefice, photo by Milton Greene, Manalapan Beach, Florida, LOOK magazine, March 22, 1954

Carmen Dell' Orefice, photo by Milton Greene, Manalapan Beach, Florida, LOOK magazine, March 22, 1954

Carmen Dell' Orefice, photo by Milton Greene, Manalapan Beach, Florida, March 22, 1954

Carmen in Revlon ad, 1954

Carmen is wearing civet lined ensemble by Jean Patou, Britannia and Eve magazine, Oct. 1954

Carmen Dell' Orefice, photo by John Rawlings, Vogue, 1955

Carmen in Cerulean EMBA mink clutch-bolero by Samuel Schulman Furs, gown by Ceil Chapman, jewelry by Cartier, photo by Virginia Thoren, Harper's Bazaar, April 1955

Carmen in a floral print nylon chiffon nightgown by Odette Barsa, photo by Lillian Bassman, Harper's Bazaar, May 1956

Carmen in a Silverblue mink coat, photo by Virginia Thoren, 1956

Carmen in an Emba mink jacket by Maximilian, dress by Jane Derby and jewels by Cartier, photo by Virginia Thoren as seen in Vogue March 1956

Carmen in coat of clipped layers of deep black wool woven with fur by Lilli Ann, fur toque by Mr. John, photo by Lillian Bassman, harper's Bazaar, August 1956

Carmen in peony-pink silk print dress with fichu-collar by Galanos, hat by Emme, photo by Lillian Bassman, Harper's Bazaar, May 1956

Carmen Dell' Orefice in Lutetia EMBA min coat by Alixandre for Samuel Schulman Furs, Inc., jewelry by Cartier, photo by Virginia Thoren, Harper's Bazaar, October 1957

Carmen Dell' Orefice in Lutetia EMBA mink coat, photo by Virginia Thoren, 1957

Carmen Dell' Orefice in soft blue cashmere cardigan scrolled in appliqué over a matching short-sleeved dress in thin blue wool by Vera Stewart, Harper's Bazaar, August 1957

Carmen Dell' Orefice is wearing dress by Lanvin-Castillo, photo by Richard Avedon in Paris for Harper's Bazaar, Oct. 1957

Carmen in a dark hooded mink coat, photo by Virginia Thoren, 1957

Carmen wearing sequined dress by Traina-Norell, photo by Richard Avedon for Harper's Bazaar, 1957

Carmen Dell' Orefice in beige wool and silk suit with patch pockets set high on the bosom worn with thin straw hat, both by Christian Dior-New York, Harper's Bazaar, February 1958

Carmen Dell' Orefice in Lutetia EMBA mink jacket by Christian Dior, photo by Virginia Thoren, 1958

Carmen in deep green basket-weave wool suit with longer jacket and fringed scarf collar by Monte Sano & Pruzan, hat by Mr. Arnold, Harper's Bazaar, September 1958

Carmen in full length mink coat, photo by Virginia Thoren, Vogue Oct. 1958

Carmen in mocha-colored Persian lamb walking coat by Schiaparelli, hat by Mr. Arnold, jewelry by Verdura, photo by Dan Wynn, Harper's Bazaar, November 1958

Carmen in pebbly gray Forstmann wool dress and jacket, jacket has big kimono collar and deep cuffs by Christian Dior-New York, Harper's Bazaar, September 1958

Carmen in suit by Monte-Santo and Pruzan, photo by Gleb Derujinsky for Harper's Bazaar, Sept. 1958

Carmen, mink coat by Levermann, New York, 1958

Carmen Dell' Orefice, photo by Tom Palumbo, 1950s

Carmen in a two-piece suit by Tiktiner as seen in British Vogue, July 1959, photographed in the Bahamas by Norman Parkinson

Carmen in Autumn Haze EMBA mink coat by Gunther Jaeckel, jewelry by Tiffany, photo by Virginia Thoren, Harper's Bazaar, December 1959

Carmen in blue Supima cotton shirtwaist dress by David Crystal, photo by Gleb Derujinsky, Hawaii, Harper's Bazaar, January 1959

Carmen in brown and white cotton and wool tweed suit, the jacket collar shows a hint of brown shantung lining matching the blouse by Davidow, photo by Saul Leiter, Harper's Bazaar, March 1959

Carmen in brown moiré coat by Arthur Jablow, ecru rose hat by Madcaps, photo by Saul Leiter, Harper's Bazaar, March 1959

Carmen in cotton and Arnel beach shirt in colorful print medallions inspired by East Indian playing cards, by Haymaker, photo by Saul Leiter, Harper's Bazaar, May 1959

Carmen in cotton two-piece bathing suit by Cole of California, matching cover-up by Leon Levine, photo by Gleb Derujinsky, Hawaii, Harper's Bazaar, January 1959

Carmen in lovely blue evening dress of Supima cotton by Jerry Parnis, photo by Gleb Derujinsky, Hawaii, Harper's Bazaar, January 1959

Carmen in smoky charcoal suit of British wool tweed, tunic jacket is collarless and belted in black kidskin, by Ben Zuckerman, hat by Emme, photo by Saul Leiter, Harper's Bazaar, September 1959

Carmen in swimwear by Adejo of Cote D'Azur, photo by Norman Parkinson for Vogue, Bahamas, 1959

Carmen in white lace top over yards of brown chiffon by Harvey Berin, dinner hat of roses by Dior-New York, photo by Saul Leiter, Harper's Bazaar, March 1959

Carmen, British Vogue July 1959, cover by Norman Parkinson





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