Every six weeks or so I do a short post on someone I consider to be a great “Beauty Muse”, unique beauties whose look, style and of course, makeup is inspiring to me and I hope in turn is inspiring to you. I won’t lie, out of all of the content I produce for Mascara Wars, these types of post are probably the least fruitful in terms of hits and shares and all the other stuff blogs are supposed to be about, but I continue with them, because in the long run as the Beauty Muse files build month after month, I think they’re important.
I write these not as blog posts to be of interest one week and forgotten the next, but to build an archive that profiles inspiring beauties that makeup artists and readers can dip into whenever they wish, for years to come. Sometimes they show simply the power that makeup has to transform one face (see Guinevere Van Seenus), or the creative expressions of unique minds through makeup (see Bjork), but I also want them to show the full spectrum of what beauty can be. Not just the typical, hetero-normative standards of what is considered beautiful, and don’t get me wrong I love me a Victoria’s Secret Angel, they’re a sight to behold, but give me a Tilda Swinton or a Yolandi Visser or an Alek Wek in the mix any day!
And so, after that blathering introduction, let me introduce today’s unique and exquisite, beauty muse; Carmen Dell’Orefice. Carmen has the sort of beauty that really stops you in your tracks, and at the age of 84 that is the sign of a rare bird indeed. Known for being the world’s oldest working supermodel, she shows no sign of slowing down, with recent shoots for Elle, Harpers Bazaar, Marie Claire and many more, regularly being made up by such legendary artists as Peter Philips and Aaron de Mey. Carmen began her modelling career as a native New Yorker at age 15, beginning with the cover of Vogue in 1946 and after taking a break for two whole decades from the mid-fifties, she returned full force in the 1970s and hasn’t stopped since! Retirement is seemingly not a relevant word in Carmen’s vocabulary.
Her early modelling shots are easily Google-able and wholesomely gorgeous, but what is most wonderful about Dell’Orefice is that she has undeniably hit her greatest beauty stride, the older she’s become. With her halo of bright white hair and tailored style of elegant power-dressing, she is more than just comfortable with the aging process – she absolutely OWNS it. In a world where women are expected to shrivel up and fade away after fifty, Carmen and many other older women like her (see the wonderful documentary “Advanced Style” – yes it’s on Netflix – for more vibrant and aesthetically awesome senior citizens) are paving the way for those of us currently in our younger years to be able to seriously blossom as we age. I personally can’t wait to have my own shock of white hair to play with!
My own Grandma, now in her nineties, still makes herself up with Bobbi Brown compacts and Chanel lipstick every day. I utterly refute the idea that older women shouldn’t embrace makeup. Carmen plays with a variety of full, glamorous looks on the regular, and granted she may be blessed with a bone structure from the Gods, but I like to think she wears them so well because she owns them 100%. There’s snow on the roof but there’s fire in the furnace as they say. Carmen, Mascara Wars salutes you!
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