Inspiration Comments

Carmen Dell’Orefice

Written by: Zanita Whittington


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Career highlight, meeting fashion icon, Carmen Dell’Orifice – who at 81 years old is the worlds oldest working supermodel.

Carmen was enlisted by Aussie fashion’s true king of evening dressing, Peter Alexander, to represent luxurious dressing gowns, two piece pj sets and nighties in the upcoming Mother’s Day collections. Shot in NYC by world class photographer Alexei Hay, the campaign truly captures Carmen’s vibrance and zest for life. I’m so grateful to be invited by Peter Alexander to snap these behind the scenes images of magic happening. Carmen is a true muse! I also had the chance to sit and chat to her for about half an hour during a break of shooting, she gave me all kinds of sage advice about relationships and my career – I wish she was related to me! I’m super lucky to have spent time with Ms Dell’Orifice.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Peter Alexander  – we’re talking about a hugely popular Australian sleepwear brand, with conceptualised collections (my fave has been the Disney range, so cute) and high street stores. I also scored an interview with Peter to discuss all things PJ’s and fashion.

Every Peter Alexander collection takes you to a new place – what is it inspiring you this season and what is it that keeps you excited about the next?    

I like to keep things fresh not only for my sanity ( I’ve been in the pyjama game for over 25 years ) but also for my customers. Each month I do a new collection with a new theme – this May its a story about a naught girl sent to Scotland to stay with her very glamorous grandmother. The inspiration was my niece, she has moved to Glasgow to study for six months – so i just started with that , although my niece is very naughty! 

You last collection was shot in NY with Iconic local new Yorker Carmen Dell’orifice – is there any place in the world you haven’t been to but would love to visit from a professional/inspirational perspective and why? 

I have never been to Greek islands and I’m sure I would create a wonderfully relaxed white and blue collection ( plus i can lie on the beach and say its a work trip ! )

How did you get into the business of pyjamas?  

The million dollar question! One I get asked often – I like to say I slept around alot when I was young and realised everyone had crappy pj’s so saw a gap in the market. The true story is that when I was 19 I bought a pair of pyjamas in Hong Kong ( I never wore then as an adult ) and years later I wondered if I could convert others to pyjamas as I had been.

Can you please share with us some of you career highlights or accomplishments so far?       

Reaching 25 years in this very fickle business is a big accomplishment ! I was terrible at school and never went to uni and had no real direction in my life so the fact  I have such a big company amazes me , my family and my friends every day! I was very proud when 60 minutes did a story on me a few years ago , that was a real high light

 What are some of your favourite fashion websites, magazines or books? 

I am old fashion ( plus close to 50 ! ) so i love a fashion magazine – US elle & UK & German vogue are my favourites – but to me a great news agent is my porn – i get so excited.

What were some of the themes of your first Peter Alexander collections? 

Themes! No I was not that advanced to have themes, all I did was spots, florals, stripes but as there was NO sleepwear that was not 100% daggy on the market mine stood out.

Can you give us a hint as to what’s coming up next for Peter Alexander?

I am loving doing collaborations and I have been working with some great artists and also with old movies (I did wizard of OZ last year and it was a sell out). So expect more of that. I would also love to spread my wings a little and try some new fashion categories (cant say what yet) . Peter Alexander is always on the move and changing and that’s what I love about it.

Thanks so much again goes to Peter Alexander and the team for inviting me to the big apple (first time I have ever been! See my post here) to be part of this campaign. Hope you like my pics!