Annie Leibovitz’s 2016 Pirelli calendar looks a bit different to calendars past…
For over 50 years, the famous Pirelli calendar has been filled with beautiful faces and bodies of the top models of the moment, often nude or semi-nude, and captured by iconic photographers such as Mario Testino, Patrick Demarchelier and Helmut Newton. The striking imagery has developed a cult-following, particularly in fashion circles, due to its exclusivity – the calendar is not available to purchase but is gifted to VIPs and top clients of the Italian tire manufacturer.
For the 2016 calendar, Pirelli has tried something different. Bringing famed photographer Annie Leibovitz on board, they gave her free rein to cast and creatively direct the 43rd edition. Gone is the overt sexuality and famous fashion names – instead, Leibovitz tapped artists, filmmakers, philanthropists and other game-changing women to sit for the stunning black and white portraits.
This line-up includes tennis star Serena Williams, artist and activist Yoko Ono, musician/author Patti Smith, supermodel and philanthropist Natalia Vodianova, art collector and chairman of MoMA PS1 Agnes Gund with granddaughter Sadie Rain Hope-Gund, 19-year-old writer/editor Tavi Gevinson and comedian Amy Schumer.
Speaking at a press conference in London today, Leibovitz said: “Pirelli came to me and told me they wanted to shift this year to something different. I made the suggestion that they do women performance artists or women comedians, almost a take-off. I just thought of women I admired and I didn’t let anyone in the studio from Pirelli. It became a very strong set of very simple portraits.”
Of Schumer’s topless portrait, Leibovitz explained the concept was for the Trainwreck actress and stand-up comedian to pose nude ironically, as if she didn’t get the memo that everyone else was clothed. “She got the whole concept completely. She’s so bright. She was willing to play that role. I was worried for her; I said, ‘Are you self-conscious?’ [Amy] said, ‘Are you kidding? I love my body.'”