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|