Celebrating 50 years of the Pirelli calendar was always going to be a tall order – after all, how do you better a product that, since its inception, has employed only the world’s best photographers to shoot the world’s most famous models for its pages?
By going back to the archives for a money-couldn’t-buy-you-it issue, of course.
To mark 2014’s half-century, Pirelli is issuing the previously unseen calendar shot by Helmut Newton in 1986 (both, by a happy coincidence, share the same calendar year).
In the mid-80s, both the British and Italian branches of Pirelli were producing separate calendars but it all came to head in ’86. The UK had commissioned US photographer Bert Stern; Italy, Newton.
But, as a statement from Pirelli goes on to explain, ‘the 1986 Calendar was that was that produced by Stern: Newton had to step down due to personal problems. The Calendar he conceived and created was archived like a precious “family heirloom”, waiting for the right occasion to step into the limelight.’
And here it is.
The reissuing of the vintage design, with ‘reconstruction work’ from the Pirelli Foundation, is but one step in the company’s plans to mark the milestone. In June, it commissioned a special shoot by Peter Lindbergh and Patrick Demarchelier featuring former Pirelli girls Alessandra Ambrosio, Helena Christensen, Isabeli Fontana, Miranda Kerr, Karolina Kurkova and Alek Wek.
Flick through a preview of the 1986/2014 calendar above. While it might not be quite as risqué as its modern-day incarnations, it is by Newton, so there’s plenty of wow. You have been warned.
What do you think of the calendar? Tweet us your thoughts @ELLEUK.