Ageless Beauty, Carmen Dell’Orefice

Today is the 85th birthday of Carmen Dell’Orefice (born June 3, 1931), an American model of ironic status and actress, known within the fashion industry for being the world’s oldest working model was on the cover of Vogue by the age of fifteen and has been modeling ever since.

Carmen Dell’Orefice

Carmen Dell’Orefice (Click photo to enlarge).

In her own words Carmen says of her spectacular career; “I projected a strong personality for a gray-haired again population – I gave them the permission to be themselves. Then my career was on the high road again, and it did not really stop. Now I consider myself a cover girl. I am 80-years old.”

Springing from Italian and Hungarian ancestry, Carmen’s parents had a tempestuous and unstable relationship characterized by frequent breaks and reconciliations, punctuated with periods of time where Carmen lived in foster homes or with other relatives during her parent’s clashes.

In 1942, Carmen and her mother moved to New York City. At the age of thirteen, while riding a bus to ballet class, she was approached to model by the wife of photographer Herman Landschoff. Her test photos, taken at Jones Beach, were a “flop” according to Carmen. In 1946, her godfather introduced her to Vogue and fifteen-year old Carmen 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 1947. 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.

Carmen Dell’Orefice Vogue 1948Carmen Dell’Orefice, Vogue cover, Februari 1948 (Click photo to enlarge).

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

Carmen and her mother were accomplished seamstresses and made extra money making clothes. One of their customers was Dorian Leigh. Carmen later became best friends with Dorian’s younger sister, model Suzy Parker. Together they were bridesmaids at Dorian’s second wedding to Roger Mehle in 1948.

Carmen Dell’Orefice

Carmen Dell’Orefice for Vogue America (Click photo to enlarge).

In 1947, Carmen’s rate was raised to $10–$25 per hour. She appeared on the October 1947 cover of Vogue, at age sixteen, one of the youngest Vogue cover models to grace the magazines cover. Carmen was also on the November 1948 cover of Vogue.

carmen-dell_orefice-by-richard-avedon-1957Carmen Dell’Orefice by Richard Avedon, 1957

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Pictured above is a Chanel No.5 perfume ad from 1958 featuring Carmen Dell’Orefice.

carmen-dellorefice-mink-coat-man-of-lever-1958-photo-fc-gundlach.jpgCarmen Dell’Orefice by F. C. Gundlach, 1958

carmen-dell-orefice-bahamas-vogue-cover-july-1959.jpgCarmen Dell’Orefice, on the Bahamas, by Norman Parkinson per Vogue, luglio 1959

carmen-wearing-a-white-one-shoulder-dress-by-frank-masandrea-san-simeon-hearst-castle-town-country-magazine-1981Carmen Dell’Orefice at Hearst Castle for Town Country Magazine 1981

She worked with the most famous fashion photographers of the era including Irving Penn, Gleb Derujinsky, Francesco Scavullo, Norman Parkinson, and Richard Avedon. Carmen was photographed by Melvin Sokolsky for Harper’s Bazaar in 1960. The iconic image titled Carmen Las Meninas has been collected internationally. Sokolsky also photographed her for the classic Vanity Fair lingerie campaign in which Carmen obscures her face with her hand. She was painter Salvador Dalí’s muse.

carmen3Carmen Dell’Orefice (Click photo to enlarge).

Despite her early successes, modeling agent Eileen Ford declined to represent her and Vogue lost interest in her. Her thin frame required medical attention: doctors prescribed shots to start puberty, and her new curves brought her work in catalogs modeling lingerie at $300 per hour. She joined the Ford Modelling Agency in 1953. She retired from modeling after her second marriage in 1958.

After her third divorce and in need of funds, Dell’Orefice returned to modeling in 1978. In the late 1980s, Dell’Orefice was engaged to television talk-show host David Susskind. He died before they were married. In 1993, a neighbor introduced her to Norman F. Levey, who was Bernard Madoff’s best friend. Levy was her boyfriend for several years. In the 1990s and 2000s, she modeled for Isaac Mizrahi’s clothing line at Target, as well as Cho Cheng and Rolex. Dell’Orefice is featured regularly in their advertising campaigns appearing in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and W

In the 1980s and 1990s, Dell’Orefice lost most of her money in the stock market. She was forced to auction off her famous modeling photographs from the 1940s to the 1980s through Sotheby’s,

 Carmen Dell’Orefice Madame-october-2010-carmen-dellorefice-by-tim-petersen

 Carmen Dell’Orefice by Tim Petersen, Madame, October, 2010 (Click photo to enlarge).

In 1994, with what little money she had left, and with money from boyfriend Norman Levy, she invested with notorious financial fraud Bernie Madoff. For twelve years, Ruth and Bernie Madoff and Dell’Orefice and Norman Levy were a ‘foursome’, traveling and partying together on lavish yachts. Levy died in 2005, at age 93, and Madoff was the executor of his will. Levy had $244 million in assets at the time of his death, according to Dell’Orefice. Madoff’s fraudulent investment scheme drew on these funds to lure over 13,500 individuals and charities to his Ponzi scheme. She continued to socialize with the Madoffs after Levy’s death.

In December 2008 a 68-year-old friend, who invested her life savings with Madoff, telephoned Dell’Orefice to inform her that she too had been bankrupted by the scheme. Dell’Orefice said, “For the second time in my life, I’ve lost all of my life savings.”

In June 2011, Dell’Orefice celebrated her 80th birthday. On July 19, 2011 she was awarded an honoray doctorate from the University of the Arts London, in recognition of her contribution to the fashion industry. The university sponsored a retrospective exhibition curated by illustrator and long-time friend David Downton, featuring Dell’Orefice’s Vogue covers, career highlights, and photographs from her personal archives.

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Carmen Dell’Orefice on cover of New You (Click photo to enlarge).

We want to wish Carmen Dell’Orefice a happy, healthy 85th birthday!!

Once Upon A Time: Lauren Hutten

Once upon a time, there was a girl that was born in Charleston, South Carolina, served cocktails as Playboy Bunny, and she notably appeared on the cover of Voque magazine on 41 occasions and earned more than any other model within a decade-long period. Became the face of a cosmetic giant, and starred several times on the silver screen, including American Gigolo (with Richard Gere), Lassiter and  The Joneses. Against all Odds-because: no classic beauty-she was the highest paid model in 10 years time! Eileen Ford, the grande dame of Cover Girls in that time, Hutton warned that if she would leave New York for two weeks, everyone would forget her. But Hutton didn’t listen….. She also didn’t listen to the criticism she got on the slit between her teeth. This rebellious lady with a penchant for motorcycling retained this imperfection, which took care of its iconic smile and a beautiful modeling career.

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Lauren Hutton reclining in Haltson, photo by Francesco Scavullo, 1975

Lauren Hutton (born November 17, 1943) stood in front of the lenses of legendary photographers like Richard Avedon, Francesco Scavullo and Irving Penn. In 1973, Hutton signed a contract with Revlon cosmetics, worth US $250,000 a year for 20 days’ work, a professional relationship that would last for ten years. Hutton’s initial contract with Revlon involved representation of the Ultima II brand, twenty years later, Hutton would sign a new contract with Revlon to be the spokeswoman for Results, a collection of corrective moisturizing treatments. Also in 1993, Hutton performed as a runway model for designer Calvin Klein and The New York Times responded by publishing an article in Hutton was “just as good as the current flock of fledglings”.

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Lauren Hutton by Francesco Scavullo, 1975

Following her recovery from a motorcycle accident in 2000, Hutton became the spokeswoman for her own signature brand of cosmetics, a line of cosmetic products for mature women. The brand was sold primarily in the USA, but was also available through secondary distribution channels throughout Europe and South America

In October 2005, Hutton was interviewed on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC)’s Good Morning America (GMA) program in relation to the future release of an edition of Big magazine that is entirely dedicated to Hutton’s career and includes eight pages of nude photos. Hutton agreed to pose nude for the feature, titled “Lauren Hutton: The Beautiful Persists,” when she was 61-years-old and explained to GMA:

I want women not to be ashamed of who they are when they’re in bed. Society has told us to be ashamed … The really important (thing) is that women understand not to listen to a 2,000-year-old patriarchal society.

Hutton, who is supposedly one of four women that has been offered US$1 million by Larry Flynt (LFP, Hustler) to pose nude, also explained that she first sought permission from her 14 godchildren, who said to her that the photographs would be “inspirational.”

Still a hard working woman, who also enjoys life. In July 2013, Hutton revealed that she was in the process of writing her memoir, which may be titled ‘Smile’, and also explained the value of traveling and exploration in her life thus far: “whenever I came back from Africa or the Antarctic, head swelling with the beauty of it all, I found I was loving life again. You look different because of everything that has gone on inside of you”.

by Jean Amr

Paul Jabara: Last Dance

 

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Today, twentythree years ago, Paul Jabara died. A name that doesn’t say anything maybe to our youngsters, but hearing songs as ‘It’s Raining Men’ ‘Last Dance’ and ‘No More Tear’s (Enough is Enough)’ would ring a bell…

He Paul Frederick Jabara, was born in Brooklyn, New York on Januari 31, 1948. He was an American actor, singer, and songwriter of Lebanese ancestry, born in Brooklyn, New York City.  – Jabara’s cousin and close friend Jad Azkoul is also a Lebanese-American musician specialising in classical guitar.

Paul Jabara was the only son of Olga and Sam Jabara and was the youngest of three children and had two older sisters, Delores and Claudette. His love of music originated almost from birth, and he entertained his family and their friends as soon as he learned to talk. This multi-talented phenomenon began his career a teenager modeling for magazines and appearing in television commercials. As a teenager, he also auditioned for The Sound of Music and was offered a part in the road company, but his parents wouldn’t allow him to go. His first big break came when he was offered a feature role in the original cast of Hair.

 

Paul Jabara in 'The Day Of The Locust',

Impressionist Paul Jabara cuddles Donald Sutherland as Karen Black and William Atherton are amused in a scene from the film ‘The Day Of The Locust’, 1974. (Photo by Paramount/Getty Images)

In the 1970’s, Jabara was in the Original cast of the stage musicals ‘Hair’ and ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’. He took over the role of Frank-N-Furter in the Los Angeles Production of ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ when Tim Curry left the production to film the movie version in England. He appeard in John Schlesinger’s 1969 film ‘Midnight Cowboy’, as one of the attendees at the counterculture party, and in Schlesinger’s 1975 film ‘The Day of The Locust, where he sang the song ‘Hot Voo-Doo’.

But it wasn’t only acting he did. Jabara released his first album, ‘Shut Out’ in 1977. Jabara’s solo albums on the legendary disco label Casablance Records include three duets with Donna Summer;  ‘Shut Out’ (1977), ‘Something’s Missing (In My Life)’ (1978) and ‘Never Lose Your Sense Of Humor’ (1979).

 

Paul Jabara and Donna Summer ‘Something’s Missing (In My Life)’ This power ballad has also been recorded by Karen Carpenter, Freda Payne and Australian pop royalty Marcia Hines… It’s recorded in several versions, one of them with Summer is featured on Jabara’s CD ‘Greatest Hits and Misses’.

In the 1978 film ‘Thank God It’s Friday’ he played the role of Carl, the lovelorn and nearsighted disco goer, and he also contributed as a singer on two tracks on the original soundtrack album, with the songs ‘Disco Queen’ and ‘Trapped In A Stairway’.

 

Thank God Its Friday Donna Summer Paul Jabara Thelma Houston Diana Ross Movie

Thank God It’s Friday album cover.

 

Donna Summer Last Dance Thank God It's Friday

Donna Summer in ‘Thank God It’s Friday’.

Paul Jabara wrote Donna Summer’s ‘Last Dance’ from ‘Thank God It’s Friday'(1978) and Barbra Streisand’s song ‘The Main Event/Fight’ from the album ‘The Main Event’ (1979).

‘Last Dance’, featured in the film ‘Thank God Its Friday’, earned Jabara a Grammy Award and the 1978 Academy Award for Best Song. Clearly, his music defined an era and continues to keep us all dancing.

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In 1979, Jabara won both Grammy Award for Best R&B Song and the Academy Award for Best Original Song for the song performed by Donna Summer, ‘Last Dance’.

 

Paul Jabara The Third Album

Paul Jabara ‘The Third’ album contains the duet with Donna Summer ‘Never Lose Your Sense Of Humor’, a great song with the typical Jabara/Summer sound!

 

Paul Jabara Donna Summer Never Lose Your Sense Of Humor

Paul Jabara and Donna Summer ‘Never Lose Your Sense of Humor’.

 

Donna Summer Barbra Streisand No More Tears Enough Is Enough Paul Jabara Francesco Scavullo

Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand ‘No More Tears Enough Is Enough’ another monster hit for Paul Jabara (Photo’s by Francesco Scavullo).

1979 was an amazing year for Jabara and Summer. Disco’s big finish in 1979, who could ask for a bigger finish of the greatest era of dance music? The ‘Disco Queen’ and Barbara Streisand together working Paul Jabara’s magic together. This cut was a power house, anyone who experienced the energy that this cut created when it was released will never question it’s reign. Casablanca Records has definitely made a place in music history with this on. The song was a hùge Platinum-certified, #1 Billboard hit.

 

At right, songwriter Paul Jabara (1948-1992), at the premiere of Bette Midler's movie, THE ROSE, 1979

At right, songwriter Paul Jabara, at the premiere of Bette Midler’s movie, ‘The Rose’, 1979 

1981 Jabara starred in yet another John Schlesinger film, the comedy ‘Honky Tonky Freeway’ as truck driver/songwriter T. J. Tupus, hauling lions and a rhino.

Composing myriad hit songs, his credits include many platinum and gold records. He is also known for: ‘Jinxed’ (1981), written for Bette Midler and her movie of the same name, but it was never commercially released. ‘Work That Body’ (1982) a modest hit for Diana Ross. The hit single is included on her Platinum album ‘Why Do Fools Fall In Love’.

He co-wrote The Weather Girls (Sylvester’s former background girls, the Two Tons of Fun: Martha Wash and Izora Rhodes) monster hit ‘It’s Raining Men’ together with Paul Shaffer, which was also recorded by Geri Halliwell and a worldwide hit for the second time in 2001.

The former Two Tons of Fun: The Weather Girls (Matha Wash and Izora Rhodes) with their monster hit ‘It’s Raining Men’ (1984).

Jabara’s album ‘Paul Jabara & Friends’, released in 1983, features guest vocals by a then 20-year-old Whitney Houston on Eternal Love. It also includes the song ‘It’s Raining Men’. An other song Jabara wrote to perform include ‘  Two Lovers’ for Julio Iglesias (1984).

Jabara received many awards for his work throughout his lifetime. Jabara had been honored for creativity and excellence winning numerous awards including The Oscar; Grammy; Golden Globe; People’s Choice Award; Your Choice for the Oscar and many others giving him global recognition.

It has been reported that Jabara co-founded the Red Ribbon Project in 1991, and was credited with conceiving and distributing the first AIDS Red Ribbons. This highly recognized symbol spawned the use of different colored ribbons to quickly raise awareness to other causes and is widely used today.

Paul Jabara died of complications from Aids at the age of 44 in Los Angeles on September 29, 1992. He is buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. As a tribute at his memorial service, his friends and collaborators got together and performed a song he wrote entitled, We’re Gonna Win. Later recorded by long-time friend Donna Summer.

Martha Wash, one of the original members of The Weather Girls, re-recorded several years later, together with drag supermodel RuPaul the It’s Raining Men. Again, it became a huge hit! Like it also was for ex-Spice Girl, Geri Halliwell.

 

A Hot Jabara Night 2012 Paul Donna Summer

‘A Hot Jabara Summer Night’ 2012

In 2005, a workshop of a musical entitled Last Dance played New York City. It was a musical assembled from Jabara’s well known disco songs and told the story of a modern day teenager who goes back in time to spend one night at Studio 54.

Paul Jabara’s music lives on. Not only ‘the big names’ in the industry still performing his songs. Every season of Idols or .. Got Talent, we can here some of his songs performed by the ‘new’ artist. We hear his music still in films, and in clubs, and sometimes in the most fantastic long versions or remixes. Yes, it’s still a Hot Jabara Summer Night then. And it will always be……

by Jean Amr