Fifty-year an­niver­sary for Pirelli’s fa­mous cal­en­dar

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE - GIL­LIAN ORR

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

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