Fifty-year anniversary for Pirelli’s famous calendar
BEFORE the unveiling of the 2014 Pirelli calendar in Milan two days ago, there was intense speculation about the direction that “the Cal” would take for its 50th-anniversary issue. Would the greats Naomi Campbell and Helena Christensen return, or would they go with a newcomer such as Cara Delevingne? And just how nude would the women be this time around?
The Pirelli calendar, which began in 1964 as a way of marketing the Italian tyre company, has gone on to pair the biggest models of the day with the finest photographers in the world. It is familiar to some for its gratuitous use of the female form, to others, it represents high art.
Hiring award-winning photojournalist Steve McCurry for this year’s edition, who insisted that the models (including Karlie Kloss and Adriana Lima) kept their clothes on, was a shrewd move for the company. With racy contributions from Mario Sorrenti and Terry Richardson in earlier years, the company was facing regular accusations that its product was no more than soft porn.
In the end, it was announced that next year’s edition would be a blackand-white calendar by the late Helmut Newton, intended for the 1986 issue, but was never published. Featuring three clothed models, cavorting around Monte Carlo and Tuscany, according to the press release, it channels Newton’s “love of vitality and vibrant eroticism”.
Its 20 000 recipients include corporate clients and chief executives. The gift cannot be purchased in shops, although it can be found for a few thousand rands on the internet.
All those involved in the calendar say that it marks a prestigious moment in their careers. Far from feeling exploited, models appeared overjoyed to take part.
Throughout the morning, there was talk about how the calendar has always reflected a changing society. Pirelli’s chairman Marco Tronchetti Provera concluded the press conference by toasting “to the next 50 years”.
It will be interesting to see where it goes from there. – The Independent