MILAN —The 2015 Pirelli Calendar photographed by Steven Meisel and unveiled in Milan on Tuesday has a pin-up angle and an additional edgy touch — courtesy of a recurring latex element brought by Carine Roitfeld’s styling.
Meisel and Roitfeld played with today’s stereotypes, re-imagining them on models Gigi Hadid, Candice Huffine, Carolyn Murphy, Cameron Russell, Isabeli Fontana, Adriana Lima, Raquel Zimmermann, Karen Elson, Joan Small, Natalia Vodianova, Sasha Luss and Anna Ewers. Cases in point: Luss is portrayed as a sexy sailor and Hadid is seen wearing a Catgirl-like body-hugging suit in latex. “I felt like Superwoman in a lair,” said Hadid, who posed for the calendar for the first time. The focus is on the very diverse group of women, as the images were shot in a studio in New York in May — no exotic locations this time around — with makeup by Pat McGrath also playing a pivotal role.
“Steven Meisel finds beauty in different people, experimenting with beauty and creating iconic portraits with each model, women who have inspired and continue to inspire him,” said Jimmy Moffat, co-founder and managing director of talent agency Art+Commerce, who has long represented the famously reserved photographer and who was speaking in his stead. Meisel first photographed Fontana when she was 16 and also helped launch Elson’s career with a Vogue Italia cover, for example.
“For all photographers, this is a dream job, it’s a huge competition, everyone wants to do it,” said Moffat, who praised Pirelli and its president Marco Tronchetti Provera as being “patrons of the art,” leaving complete creative freedom and vision to photographers “to execute the calendar as they wish.”
Tronchetti Provera said the company chose to present the 2015 edition of The Cal, as it is called, in Milan once again, at the headquarters of Italy’s giant tire manufacturer, to mark the city’s Universal Expo next year. A cocktail and gala dinner were slated to follow on Tuesday evening. “We wanted to attract attention to Milan, to show that the city is worth being seen and draw people to it,” he said. Last year, the calendar was presented in Milan for the first time to mark its 50th anniversary, an unpublished 1986 calendar shot by Helmut Newton. This year’s eye candy is titled “Calendar Girls 2015.”
Published for the first time in 1964, the 2015 edition by Meisel brings the total number of Pirelli calendars to 42 by 33 different photographers.
Huffine, also a Vogue Italia cover in 2011, said Meisel “saw what I had in me that I didn’t even know I had.”
Following Huffine’s response to a question from the audience addressing her “plus–size” figure — “my weight never came up,” she said; Elson pointed out that this calendar “is about women being women, not plus-size. I am 36 with two kids, we all come in a lot of shapes and sizes.” Moderator Sophie Dahl, also known for her curves, said, speaking of all the models portrayed: “You own it, you own your own power and your beauty. Pirelli doesn’t shoot wallflowers or shrinking violets, but badass, interesting women.”
An exhibition called “Forma e Desiderio – The Cal Collezione Pirelli” is to be held at Milan’s Palazzo Reale from Nov. 21 to Feb. 19, displaying images from previous calendars.