Pirelli, the Italy based tire company, doesn’t come across as one of the fashion industry’s most highly sought after gigs. But just like the Victoria’s Secret fashion show and the unveiling of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, the Pirelli calendar is high on the list of coveted spots pursued after by the world’s most distinguished models.
Year after year since the Pirelli calendar’s first issue in 1964, the calendar has showcased scantily clad models like Adriana Lima and Miranda Kerr. Some of the world’s highest paid models have graced the pages of Pirelli’s extremely limited annual publication.
But this year’s calendar is different. Way different. And it’s completely genius.
When the time came for Pirelli to put together the annual spread, they decided to change up look and message of the 2016 calendar. Unlike past years, the 2016’s calendar consists of mostly-clothed women of varying ages who are successful in their various fields. Acting in the name of feminism, Pirelli and photographer Annie Leibovitz put together a slew of beautiful photos featuring strong and successful women who are accomplishing outstanding feats within their respective fields.
Leibovitz only showcased one model, Natalie Vodianova, who was shown alongside her youngest child. Although Vodianova was the million dollar face of Calvin Klein, Leibovitz chose to show Vodianova’s philanthropic side as the founder of the Naked Heart Foundation that helps impoverished and disabled individuals in Russia. Her photographs illustrate a woman who has more to offer to the world than just her physical beauty — she’s a woman that can really do it all.
Along with Vodianova, the Pirelli calendar features two extremely well-known women in today’s popular culture: Amy Schumer and Serena Williams — both of whom are mostly nude. Williams’ portrait shows her topless figure, which emphasizes the raw power of her body, demonstrating that her body, along with her achievements, exudes strength. Schumer, the comedic woman that she is, is nude holding a latte. She posted the image on her Instagram saying, “Beautiful, gross, strong, thin, fat, pretty, ugly, sexy, disgusting, flawless, woman,” which sums up the shoot in its entirety. If you want to see her and her nude ass, you’ll just have to wait till a year from now when her naked picture is hanging on your fridge in December. That will be a Christmas treat.
The revolutionary decision to change the type and the method in which these women are portrayed is making critics turn their heads, just for completely different reasons. By featuring women as they are and not as the coveted sexual objects they are so often portrayed as, Pirelli is “putting ostentatious sexuality in its rearview mirror — for at least one year — to focus on women’s strength and achievements,” according to an article published on NPR.
Maybe this is just a one-year exposé, but I think this new Pirelli calendar might be around to stay. And I truly hope it is. The 2016 calendar proves that women have more to offer than just their physical beauty. It’s more. Actors, mothers, activists and athletes. My advice: be it all and do it all. Do what you love. Be kind. Be generous. Be successful. Hell, you might just make it as one of the calendar girls some day.