Pirelli Calendar 2016 – a celebration of ‘distinguished’ women?

“This calendar is so completely different. It is a whole other concept.”

“Pirelli gave me their freedom. They said, ‘we want to do a departure’.”

Every year, Italian tyre manufacturer Pirelli publishes a calendar full of photographs of famous women.

Though there have been a few occasions where there have been no nudes, it’s widely accepted that the calendar is very much a ‘sensual’ item.

But 2016’s calendar is different, many media outlets have noted.

This year, the portraits (taken by photographer Annie Leibovitz) focus on strong and accomplished women, rather than the female form.

patti smith pirelli
Patti Smith, shown in Pirelli’s 2016 calendar. Credit: Leibovitz

And whilst some of the featured women are nearly nude, both Pirelli and Leibovitz have been at pains to note that sensuality should not be the images’ focal point.

“The 2016 Pirelli Calendar features 13 women of outstanding professional, social, cultural, sporting and artistic accomplishment,” the firm has explained, continuing:

“As was the case with the first few Calendars of the Sixties and, more recently, in Peter Lindbergh’s 2002 Calendar, or Patrick Demarchelier’s 2008 and Steve McCurry’s 2013 Calendars, there are no nudes.”

serena williams pirelli
Tennis player Serena Williams poses in the Pirelli 2016 calendar. Credit: Leibovitz

“When Pirelli approached me, they said they wanted to make a departure from the past. They suggested the idea of photographing distinguished women,” said Leibovitz.

“After we agreed on that, the goal was to be very straightforward. I wanted the pictures to show the women exactly as they are, with no pretense.”

amy schumer pirelli7
Amy Schumer’s portrait in the Pirelli 2016 calendar. Credit: Leibovitz

“I’m a great admirer of comediennes. The Amy Schumer portrait added some fun. It’s as if she didn’t get the memo saying that she could keep her clothes on,” she added.

What do you think of the calendar?

See more here.

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