The Pirelli Calendar has an internationally esteemed legacy of fine, glossy photography by talented artists featuring normatively gorgeous, often underdressed women in poses designed for the male gaze. It’s almost always beautiful—but it was miles away from woke.
This year, the best-selling calendar—whose worldwide sales trump Sports Illustrated’s “Swimsuit Issue”—has taken a smart turn. Instead of lip-biting models wearing as little as possible, we’ve got silver-screen icons including Nicole Kidman, Uma Thurman, Penélope Cruz, Kate Winslet, and Robin Wright as well as rising stars Alicia Vikander, Lupita Nyong’o, Jessica Chastain, and Rooney Mara wearing, well, actual clothes and looking relatively natural. Shot by Peter Lindbergh—the photog behind to other editions—it marks yet another feminist turn by the increasingly sensitive company.
Just to catch you up, not only has the last decade seen the Calendar make a turn on its content (more challenging photographers, more non-models, more clothes), it’s also collected plaudits for its various changes. Not all of them have been lauded, but one step in front of the other, right?
Now, we know what you’re feeling there—these women still represent modern beauty standards and, yeah, the cast is notably lacking in diversity. Nonetheless, it’s hard not to see the replacement of supermodels with proudly body-pos women such as Winslet and individuals known more for their skills and works than their torsos as a mark of the media’s general progress. Said Lindbergh, “Talent is more important than nice body parts.” Indeed.