Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Carmen Dell' Orefice

At the Carmen Dell' Orefice exhibition today, I realised that I have something in common with the grey-haired model. Just like the woman who lost all her money to Bernie Madoff, with my lack of pension provision, I'll be working when I'm 80-years-old, too.

CDO's impressive career spans 65 years and is currently being celebrated by the London College of Fashion. Shunting my thoughts on cosmetic enhancement aside for one blog post, the octogenarian model's longevity serves to increase the visibility of older women in the media. Surely, a positive thing?

Young Carmen doesn't really look like old Carmen. But see how she can dive (bottom row, middle):

Old CDO is good for a quote:

There's a lovely selection of old magazine covers and adverts.

Look at those cheekbones:

She worked with all the best photographers, Avedon, Beaton and Penn.

'For me things picked up again in the early 1980s when I was 49. I hadn't been working very much just modelling flannel nightgowns for Macy's and such, and one day Norman Parkinson showed up. He said, "You know, for an old bag, you don't look so bad. How about some pictures in Paris." Those pictures were in French Vogue and they were wonderful.'

'I projected a strong personality for a grey-haired ageing population - I gave them the permission to be themselves. Then my career was on the high road again, and it didn't really stop. Now I consider myself a cover girl. I am 80-years-old.'

Carmen: A Life in Fashion is on at the London College of Fashion, John Princes Street, London W1 until January 14. And you can see her recent BBC interview here.

First picture and black & white portrait: Models 1.
Cowl neck dress: Tim Peters.

Quotes: Financial Times.


Faux Fuchsia said...

I LOVE her! Always felt sad that Madoff took her cash x

Faux Fuchsia said...

I LOVE her! Always felt sad that Madoff took her cash x

Patti said...

I've loved her for years and I appreciate this photo collection, thanks! You're right about the cheekbones - I don't think any surgery can give you those. Madoff took her money? Grrrrrrr.

Chicatanyage said...

I think she is gorgeous. Stunning role model. I will make a point of going to see the exhibition in January. Thank you for sharing.

Vix said...

I remember drooling over her after I getting a Norman Parkinson photography book for a 14th birthday present. She's the epitome of elegance. x

Make Do Style said...

I can't wait to see this! Fab exhibition and great to have it at LCF.

Love your comment about working into your 80s - snap!

FairyFiligree said...

Fantastic interview. loved reading it.

projectforty said...

I wish I had cheekbones. Simply beautiful.

Fashionistable said...

She is sooooo beautiful. I wish I looked as good as her now never mind in my 80's. I will happily work into my 80's too. Xxxx

Colleen said...

She was and is gorgeous!! Real class. I think that's what's missing in today's models and movie stars (sigh).

Susan Tiner said...

I agree with the commenter who said surgery couldn't create those cheekbones. At least I don't think so anyway. I hope not.

I want the hat in the first photo. I don't even wear hats but I would wear that one.

That is horrible that Bernie Madoff took her money :(.