#WCW The Pirelli 2016 calendar is a feast for feminist eyes


The Pirelli calendar is legendary for showcasing some of the most beautiful supermodels in the world. Everyone from Kate Moss, Cindy Crawford, Adriana Lima, Gisele Bundchen, Karen Elson and Jennifer Lopez to Miranda Kerr and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley have been photographed for the forty-nine year old tradition – most of them in the nude.

So you can imagine the shock some women must have felt when they got the call earlier this year to partake in the racy calendar.

When Agnes Gund, the 77-year-old philanthropist and president emerita of the Museum of Modern Art, got the call, she thought: “That’s odd. What’s that got to do with someone like me?”

When Fran Lebowitz, the 65-year-old author, got the call, she said, “I thought it was a joke.”

And when Mellody Hobson, the 46-year-old president of Ariel Investments, a $10 billion money management firm based in Chicago, got the call, she mentioned it to her husband, the film-maker George Lucas, who raised an eyebrow and said, “Do you know what that is?”

They’re right to be surprised and worried in equal measure – Pirelli has hardly been known in the past for elevating and celebrating strong women.

It would seem, though, that the tides they’re a-changin’ as next year’s calendar is full of athletes, celebrated artists and women who are trailblazers and leaders in their fields. And being photographed by Annie Leibovitz brought out the truth in these women – the very essence of who they are.

Bravo, Pirelli and Viva Beautiful Women!

Foreword: Yao Chen – With over 70 million social media followers in China, Chen is easily one of the most famous women on the planet. The film/TV actress who started out microblogging on the Chinese website Weibow, now uses her influence as the first Chinese Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations, and meets with refugees from Myanmar, Somalia and Syria.
March: Agnes Gund and Sadie Rain Hope-Gund. An enthusiasm for art clearly runs in the Gund family. Agnes is currently president emerita and chairman of MoMA’s international council as well as chairman of MoMA PS1. Meanwhile, her granddaughter Sadie is a student at Brown University where she studies photography and media.
April: Serena Williams – Williams has helped to change women’s tennis over the years—with 21 Grand Slams now under her belt, and the first African-American to be ranked number one, Serena is undeniably the most recognizable face in the game.
August: Tavi Gevinson – At the age of 12, Gevinson launched her own blog Style Rookie, where she put her knowledge of fashion to good use, as well as photos of herself wearing her favourite thrifted finds in her backyard. At 15 she launched Rookie, an online-only magazine as a safe space for teenage girls to connect. The teenager is now focused on a blossoming acting career, after being cast in Kenneth Lonergan’s play This is Our Youth, which opened in Chicago and moved to Broadway.
November: Patti Smith – One of the most iconic faces in American music, Smith embarked on a journey over 40 years ago to save rock ‘n’ roll. She was an important figure in New York clubs including CBGB and her first record, “Horses” is known as one of the most influential rock albums.
December: Amy Schumer – The stand-up comedian and actress has become known for operating on the extreme edge of feminism with her award-winning TV series Inside Amy Schumer. Leibovitz on getting Schumer to pose in her underwear, “She got that it was a concept. It was going to be an important aspect of the pictures. She was willing to play that role. I was worried for her, I asked, ‘are you self-conscious?’ And she said, ‘are you kidding? I love my body!'”


All pictures courtesy Harpers Bazaar/Annie Leibovitz

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