Pirelli unveils their latest calendar by Annie Leibovitz

By Kenneth Richard | The Impressionist

Garages across the world are in for a change this year as the latest annual calendar produced by Pirelli tires makes a u-turn in both aesthetic and subject matter.

The calendar long ago transcended its pin-up roots to earn fashion credibility thanks to the inclusion of supermodels like Kate Moss, Lara Stone, Joan Smalls, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Gisele Bundchen, to name a few. Photographers such as Richard Avedon, Herb Ritts, Mario Sorrenti, Karl Lagerfeld, Helmut Newton and, most recently, Steven Meisel have all lensed the scantily clad annual.

This year Annie Leibovitz, who also shot the 2000 calendar, took the helm again and replaced the sexy vixens with portraits of women of various ages and sizes chosen for their “professional, social, cultural, sporting and artistic accomplishment.”

Models include muscian Patti Smith, Hollywood producer Kathleen Kennedy, director Ava DuVernay, blogger Tavi Gevinson, artist Shirin Neshat, and even an investment banker, Mellody Hobson. Yoko Ono gets her sexy on sporting a top hat, tuxedo jacket and fishnet tights while comedian Amy Schumer sips a cup of coffee while topless.

Pirelli has always given free rein to the photographer, so it’s really about choice of photographer. I think the company has wanted to shift for a few years and my mandate was that they wanted to see some change.

Annie Leibovitz

And change it has, as Leibovitz kept the flattering black and white images natural with little to no pretense.

The result is a watershed moment for the brand and obviously a statement piece meant to reflect the spirit of the times. The idea from brands to bloggers that ‘natural’ and women of ‘various ages and sizes’ need to be represented more has been given credibility of late, and credit goes to Pirelli for taking that risk.

Pirelli’s CEO, Marco Tronchetti Provera, agrees that the new format felt “very timely”. “Women who have done something outstanding in their lives, from every corner of the world. This represents what Pirelli thinks is beautiful,” said Tronchetti Provera.

And with that, perhaps the Pirelli calendar will find a new home that isn’t in the back of the garage.

Photographer | Anne Leibovitz
Photo Assistant | Nick Rogers and Matthias Gaggl
Production | Suzanna Rees
Creative Consultant | Kathryn Macleod
Set Design | Mary Howard
Stylist | Jessica Diehl
Hair | Oribe
Hair Assistant | Judy Erickson and Greg Bitterman
Make-up | Mark Carrasquillo
Make-up Assistant | Ai Yokomizo
Manicure | Yuko Tsuchihashi
Tailoring | Reneata Harris
Post Production | Matthew Currie and Stanislav Ginzburg
BTS Director of Photography | Barbara Leibovitz Hellman
BTS Assistant Camera | Christopher Vernale
Design | Jeff Streeper and Sarah Hwang
Editor | Sharon Delano