This morning while I was laying in my bed, squinting at the news, wondering if I could avoid the headlines or my long to-do list, something light and innocent was happening in Paris. The 2017 Pirelli Calendar was unveiled featuring Kate Winslet, Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Dame Helen Mirren, Uma Thurman, Robin Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Alicia Vikander, Julianne Moore, Rooney Mara, Jessica Chastain, Charlotte Rampling, Zhang Ziyi, Lea Seydoux and Anastasia Ignatova. (I promise I tried to abbreviate that list but I couldn’t possibly.)
Guys, a calendar! A paper contraption for your wall that tells you the day of the month and shows you a pretty photo! So simple.
The first Pirelli Calendar came out in 1964. Back then it was a corporate freebie, like those branded pens that float around in your junk drawer for years. Soon it became more careful and curated and took on a breeze of exclusivity. (Pretty novel for a wall calendar from a tire company.) Up-and-coming models shot by photographers with recognizable names, an aesthetic that poked fun at the taboo. It became a sign of the changing times.
In 1974, the recession brought calendar production to a dramatic halt. It went dark for 10 years. Women were shot nude, just elsewhere. It returned in 1984 to serious fanfare (distance makes the heart grow fonder, etc) and in the years since, has gotten increasingly zietgiesty. Huge stars, huge photographers, lots of envelope-pushing and artistic acclaim, that kind of thing. You can read all about this in more detail on the Pirelli website, if you’re interested.
Last year’s Pirelli was shot by Annie Liebovitz. It got a shit ton of press, deservedly so, because it was chock full of women renowned in their fields, photographed beautifully and then presented unretouched, such as Amy Schumer, Ava Duverney, Tavi Gevinson, Yao Chen and Serena Williams. You can read about it here.
The 2017 edition unveiled today was shot by Peter Lindbergh, another one of fashion’s most iconic photographers. The focus for his Pirelli Calendar (his third, actually) was actresses, and he sought to highlight natural beauty in a similar vein to Liebovitz.
“I wanted to use the 2017 Calendar to make a statement for a different kind of beauty,” Lindbergh said in an interview. “The current system promotes only one kind of beauty that is very connected to youth and perfection because it is a system based on consumption –” (Happy Consumption Month!) “– whose idea of beauty doesn’t have anything to do with reality and with women. I think we need to take a step back and realize that this idea of beauty does not help women and on the contrary makes them unhappy.”
Second that. Watch below (or the full version here) then click around here to see how this year’s Pirelli calendar came together. You can also look through all the final photos here.
Photos by Peter Lindbergh for the 2017 Pirelli Calendar.