Pirelli Calendar Bucks Past Trends

Beauty doesn’t just come in the form of naked, nubile young women anymore. The 2016 Pirelli Calendar — a calendar which is given out to an “exclusive group of 20,000 “V.I.P.’s, musicians, politicians and royalty,” according to a Pirelli company spokesperson — bowed this week, according to the New York Times, and as always, it is a noteworthy piece of art.

To be sure, the women famed photographer Annie Leibovitz captured in her lens run the gamut from Hollywood A-listers to sports stars to CEOs. Of particular note is that none of the women are traditionally “beautiful” models, and there are very few that are naked. Certainly, tennis superstar Serena Williams is featured topless, her back to the camera and her muscles gleaming, and actress Amy Schumer is featured in high heels and little else, but women posing nude are the exception rather than the rule for this particular Pirelli calendar.

Does this mark a changing trend for the Pirelli calendar and models? The New York Times wonders if this is indeed the case as it noted this was “the first time the attraction of the subjects is in their résumés, not their measurements.”

Daily Mail reports that Leibovitz simply wanted to capture the essence of the women without any extra effects in shooting the 2016 Pirelli calendar.

“I wanted the pictures to show the women exactly as they are, with no pretense,” she said.

The Pirelli calendar has been around for five decades and generally has featured scantily clad women in a variety of provocative poses, but this year marks an apparent change in how the women chosen for the Pirelli calendar were viewed. Not only were the resumes of the remarkable women selected for the Pirelli calendar a particular consideration, the ability to capture them – most of them, at least – fully clothed was of particular note. In the 50 years the Pirelli calendar has been published, the models have been fully or mostly clothed only a handful of times, according to the New York Times. One of the most recent times was in 2013, when the calendar was shot in Brazil.

In fact, some of those selected to participate in the Pirelli shoot honestly thought someone was playing a sort of joke. Mellody Hobson, for instance, was one of those people. Hobson is the 46-year-old president of Ariel Investments and wife of famed Star Wars creator George Lucas. When she mentioned that she had been called to participate in the Pirelli calendar shoot, which occurred last July, Lucas raised an eyebrow and asked, “Do you know what that is?”

Author Fran Lebowitz wondered what the joke was about the Pirelli calendar shoot when she was called, while Agnes Gund, the 77-year-old philanthropist and president emerita of the Museum of Modern Art, wondered what the Pirelli calendar shoot had to do with someone like her. Regardless of what this year’s models believed was behind the selection criteria, it’s clear that the minds behind the Pirelli calendar for 2016 thought a shift was needed.

The Amy Schumer pose for the Pirelli calendar is gaining particular notoriety, likely because there appears to be no airbrushing of the comic whatsoever. In addition, Annie Leibovitz said she particularly liked the Schumer pose because it appeared very reflective of reality.

“I told her my idea and asked if she’d be comfortable with it,” Leibovitz said, according to Daily Mail. “And she said, ‘Of course, I love my body.’ Then the moment she picked up her coffee cup – that was all real. No one was supposed to look like they’d tried.”

She said that part of the reason she enjoyed Amy Schumer’s photo so much for the Pirelli calendar was because it “added some fun. It’s as if she didn’t get the memo saying that she could keep her clothes on.”

(Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)