From her first US Vogue cover at age 15 to her most recent runway turn in Alberta Ferrettis January 2011 show, DellOrefices work has brought her into contact with nearly every personality that has defined post-war fashion.
My first week, I worked with Clifford Coffin. Joffe, Horst, Cecil BeatonIrving Penn was still in his army uniform. Years later, I met a new kid on the block called Dickie Avedon, she told us today. (That new kid would photograph DellOrefice jumping off of a Parisian sidewalk in his Homage to Munkacsi, destined to become one of the indelible images of both individuals careers.)
In London to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of the Arts London alongside Hussein Chalayan and Vidal Sassoon, DellOrefice is every inch the style icon. Though she's perfectly polished in a black suit and polka-dotted blouse, it's her flawless posture, trademark silver coif and direct gaze that announce her as someone who commands attention.
At the beginning, she says, American fashion was in its infancy and nylon stockings were a novelty.
We walked differently, with a kind of grace and elegance that isnt in style or in fashion, she says. I think theres going to be a renaissance, though. I think theyve let it hang out, too much, for too long, and thats boring. You really want to have a little bit of reserve and mystery, because if you know everything right away, whats left?
Working in the industry didnt lead DellOrefice into the sort of glamorous life she portrayed for Vogue and Harpers Bazaar. She used her $7.50 hourly wage to support her Depression-crippled family.
Nobody ever gave me anything, and I never made enough money to buy the clothes More