It’s 50 years since the Pirelli calendar first launched and in that time some of the world’s most famous photographers have captured some of the world’s most beautiful models in the most risqué of poses. Naomi Campbell, Sienna Miller, Sophia Loren, Gisele, Penelope Cruz… the list of high profile Pirelli ladies is endless and because of that, it’s become something that warrants great anticipation as well as great debate: Who will be the fresh/surprise/favourite Pirelli face this year? Which exotic country will play location to the lithe and scantily clad ladies? And is it art? Or simply gratuitous?
The great unveiling of the 2014 calendar took place in Milan this week, and while many had suspected that previous Pirelli snappers Terry Richardson or Mario Sorrenti would once again be leading the (highly sexed) charge, the Italian tyre company surprised everyone by using images from a previously unreleased 1986 shoot from Helmut Newton.
The late German-Australian photographer was one of the original masters of erotic or fetishized fashion visuals. Mr Newton had a well documented skill for capturing nudes on negative (his Big Nudes series continues to influence many an aspiring photographer today) but interestingly – and in contrast to the most recent offerings from Pirelli - the images for next year’s publication feature a more mysterious bevvy of girls. Read: they are wearing clothes.
The pictures had previously lain untouched due to a commissioning error that led to another photographer, Bert Stern, being hired for the same year. Stern’s photographs were used and Newton’s were archived. Simply entitled ‘The Cal’, this radical move adds further fanfare to the brand’s milestone anniversary and with the calendar’s notoriously limited availability, we won’t be surprised to see a scuffle or two occurring in order to get hold of one.