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Carmen Dell'Orefice, Oldest Working Model, Turns 80 (PHOTOS)

The Huffington Post     First Posted: 06/03/2011 1:07 pm   Updated: 08/03/2011 5:12 am

An 80-year-old model sounds like a fashion oxymoron, like stylish Crocs or flattering Spandex. But style icon Carmen Dell'Orefice proves that working the runway as an octogenarian is not only possible, but pretty darn fabulous.

The veteran model, who celebrates her 80th birthday Friday, got her start on a cover of Vogue in 1947 at a mere 15 years old. Dell'Orefice went on to pose for photography legends like Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Cecil Beaton, and Norman Parkinson, creating some pretty iconic images in the process.

She hasn't stopped working since -- while many a senior citizen is walking with a cane, the agelessly elegant Dell'Orefice continues to strut the runway in her signature white-haired glory, appearing for John Galliano in 2000, Hermès in 2004, and Alberta Ferretti just this year.

Check out a handful of images of the woman often called "the world's oldest working model."

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  • Vogue 1947

    (<a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/114756600740328945460/CarmenDellOrefice#" target="_hplink">Via</a>)

  • 1948, Julliard Wool ad

    (<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/53035820@N02/ " target="_hplink">Via</a>)

  • 1951, French Vogue

    (<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/53035820@N02/" target="_hplink">Via</a>)

  • 1953

    (<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/53035820@N02/5325945307/in/set-72157624772365511" target="_hplink">Via</a>)

  • November 1958, Chanel ad

    (<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/53035820@N02/" target="_hplink">Via</a>)

  • January 2000

    PMc photo

  • February 2005 at the launch of AKA

    (PMc photo)

  • February 2005 at the Red Dress Fashion Show

    (AP photo)

  • April 2005 at the Ball of The Year

    (Getty photo)

  • November 2006 at the Power Lunch For Women

    (Getty photo)

  • June 2008 at the For Arts Sake benefit

    (Getty photo)

  • February 2009 at the QASIMI show

    (Getty photo)

  • January 2011 at a dinner for Alberta Ferretti

    (Getty photo)

  • January 2011 at the Alberta Ferretti show

    (Getty photo)

  • February 2011 at the Adrienne Vittadini show

    (Getty photo)

  • May 2011 at the New York City Ballet Gala

    (PMc photo)

  • FASHION-FRANCE-HAUTE-COUTURE-STEPHANE ROLLAND

    US model and actress Carmen Dell'Orefice (C) presents a creation by French designer Stephane Rolland along with other models during the Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2013 collection shows on January 22, 2013 in Paris. AFP PHOTO / FRANCOIS GUILLOT (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • American Ballet Theatre Opening Night Fall New York City Center Gala

    NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 16: Actress/model Carmen Dell'Orefice (L) attends American Ballet Theatre Opening Night Fall New York City Center Gala on October 16, 2012 in New York, United States. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)

  • Norisol Ferrari - Runway - Spring 2013 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

    NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Model Carmen Dell'Orefice walks the runway at the Norisol Ferrari Spring 2013 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at The Studio at Lincoln Center on September 10, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week)

  • MBFW Spring 2013 - Official Coverage - Best Of Runway Day 5

    NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Model Carmen Dell'Orefice walks the runway at the Marimekko Spring 2013 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on September 10, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Dario Cantatore/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz)

  • Marimekko - Runway - Spring 2013 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

    NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Model Carmen Dell'Orefice walks the runway at the Marimekko Spring 2013 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at 441 West 14th Street on September 10, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Dario Cantatore/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week)

  • Chado Ralph Rucci - Front Row - Spring 2013 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

    NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 09: Carmen Dell'Orefice attends the Chado Ralph Rucci Spring 2013 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at The Theatre Lincoln Center on September 9, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week)

  • Liberatum Berlin Hosted by Grey Goose Vodka at Soho House Apartments Berlin - Day 2

    BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 03: Carmen Dell'Orefice attends the 50 year celebratory dinner in honour of Marianne Faithfull at Liberatum Berlin hosted by Grey Goose vodka at Soho House Apartments Berlin. The two day summit brings together cultural highlights and icons to launch the Soho House apartments - a new concept for the club at Soho House on July 3, 2012 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images for Grey Goose)

  • Model Carmen Dell'Orefice presents an ou

    Model Carmen Dell'Orefice presents an outfit during the Adrienne Vittadini fashion show February 16, 2011 at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A Woman Modeling at 50

    Dawn underwent two open-heart surgeries before she turned 40 and has raised a son. Now 50 years old, she has launched a career as a model and says she has never let age define her.

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