This year’s Pirelli calendar broke the mold. The Italian tire brand usually features scantily clad models posing in exotic locales in its annual 12-month spectacular. But to celebrate its 43rd year, Pirelli honors 13 women “of outstanding professional, social, cultural, sporting and artistic accomplishment” — minus the palm trees. And most of them were clothed.
Annie Leibovitz teamed up with Pirelli to shoot the diverse group of women including Amy Schumer, Serena Williams, Patti Smith and Yoko Ono. Schumer and Williams still stripped down to their underwear, but not in the typical Pirelli way.
“I’m a great admirer of comediennes. The Amy Schumer portrait added some fun,” Leibovitz says in a statement. “It’s as if she didn’t get the memo saying that she could keep her clothes on.”
At a London press conference debuting this year’s calendar, Schumer shared: “I’ve never felt more beautiful or more like myself.”
Leibovitz adds that she was happy to take the calendar in a new direction.
“The 2000 Calendar was an exercise in photographing nudes. It was a simple concept,” Leibovitz explains. “For 2016, we did something completely different, but it is still simple. It is a classic set of black-and-white portraits made in the studio. When Pirelli approached me, they said they wanted to make a departure from the past. They suggested the idea of photographing distinguished women. After we agreed on that, the goal was to be very straightforward. I wanted the pictures to show the women exactly as they are, with no pretense.”
Shot against a gray studio backdrop, wearing mostly muted colors, the wide-ranging group of women (from supermodel Natalia Vodianova to Chinese actress Yao Chen to director Ava Duvernay) posed for the legendary fashion photographer.
“I’ve seen a few of the photographs and they’re striking,” iconic singer Patti Smith told Vogue. “I have no idea what the average recipient would [think], but I think that they should appreciate a bold move. We’ll see.”
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Schumer, 34, shared her feelings about being featured on Instagram, captioning the striking photo with a series of adjectives.
“Beautiful, gross, strong, thin, fat, pretty, ugly, sexy, disgusting, flawless, woman. Thank you Annie Leibovitz!,” she wrote.
This isn’t the first time the star has stripped down for the camera. Schumer has spoken out about her weight in the past and celebrates body confidence.
What do you think of this year’s calendar? Are you happy the brand strayed from tradition? Sound off below.