“Perhaps clothed women are going to have a moment…”
Every year Pirelli tyres, an Italian based company, releases a glossy calendar featuring the best the supermodel world has to offer. Artfully lit nudes of toned, tanned and titillating models ranging from Kate Moss to Gisele Bundchen normally fill the pages, but not this coming year.
Pirelli has designated the job of revamping the calendar’s look and feel to none other than Annie Leibovitz. With a subject list including Yoko Ono, Patti Smith, Amy Schumer and Serena Williams it would hardly be a let down.
Chinese actress, Yao Chen has over seventy million followers on Weibo (the Chinese equivalent of Twitter and Facebook) making her the most ‘followed’ on the website. She’s also committed to humanitarian work and is the Chinese Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Serena Williams’ achievements casually boast the number one women’s tennis player, winner of 21 Grand Slams and being an International Goodwill Ambassador to UNICEF. More on Serena’s recent achievements here.
The subjects for 2016 were carefully hand-picked based on their “professional, social, cultural, sporting and artistic accomplishment”. That makes for a refreshing change.
Leibovitz explained at the calendar launch that none of these photographs had been conceived with the male gaze in mind. Williams’s photo was “not a nude but a body study”, she said, while Schumer’s was a comic conceit: “The idea was that she was the only one who had not got the memo about wearing clothes.”
Amy Schumer is best know for being a feminist stand-up comic and actress; her first feature film, Trainwreck, which she wrote was released this year.
Hannah Marriott of The Guardian points out that to some “the Pirelli calendar might sound like a tatty document destined for mechanics to stare at in a garage. But during its 50-odd years of production, Pirelli has worked hard to cultivate a sense of artiness and exclusivity around the images. In its hard copy form the calendar is only sent out to a select and secret few, although the images circulate widely on the internet. They are given a veneer of respectability, and fashion industry approval, thanks to the inclusion of the world’s top supermodels and actors”
Leibovitz, while being interviewed by none other than Clare Balding at the launch, stated that these photographs and the response is “representative of a shift in the way women are viewed”
These two are grandmother and granddaughter and both are interested in the arts. Agnes is heavily involved in the arts; both as a collector and supporter whilst Sadie studies photography and media. At the press conference Agnes addressed how female artists ‘don’t get the prices they should at auction’ because they’re not ‘thought to be as good investments’ compared to their male counterparts.
The manufacturer’s Chief Executive, Tronchetti Provera, even said that the shift in their image is highlighting “women who have done something outstanding in their lives, from every corner of the world. This represents what Pirelli thinks is beautiful”