Photographed by Steven Meisel ( world famous fashion photographer ) and styled by Harper Bazaar‘s global fashion director Carine Roitfeld, the 42nd edition of The Pirelli Calendar, titled Calendar Girls 2015, features the sexiest women in the modelling industry in shiny black thigh-highs and corsets.
In an intense five-day shoot last May in a New York studio, Steven Meisel brought the absolute centrality of women back to the Pirelli Calendar in its most classic format. 12 months in 12 shots (plus the cover).
The photographer was assisted in this work of transformation by the styling team of Carine, Guido Palau ( hair ) and Pat McGrath ( make-up ).
Meisel joins the likes of Richard Avedon, Mario Testino, Nick Knight, Bruce Weber, Patrick Demarchelier and Annie Leibovitz
The photographs were taken by Meisel in a New York studio for the annual publication of the Italian tyre manufacturer, Pirelli.
Pirelli has provided the world with calendars for more than 50 years. The classy and piquant calendars have created a fan base for themselves as strong as has the Italian tyre manufacturer for its rubber skills on track.
Models that have previously shot for the legendary Pirelli calendars include, Kate Moss, Gisele Bündchen, Miranda Kerr, Jennifer Lopez, Natalia Vodianova, Cindy Crawford, Adriana Lima and many more.
This year’s Calendar year is titled Calendar Girls 2015, and the girls in question are top and emerging models: the Americans Gigi Hadid, Candice Huffine, Carolyn Murphy and Cameron Russell, the Brazilians Isabeli Fontana, Adriana Lima and Raquel Zimmermann, the English Karen Elson, the Puerto Rican Joan Small, the Russians Natalia Vodianova, and Sasha Luss and the German Anna Ewers.
Behind the Scenes
The 2015 Pirelli Calendar features an extraordinary group of diverse models, ranging from the experienced super models to newcomer superstars.
“In my opinion, these are the key aesthetic models of today’s world,” Meisel says, “They represent…the fashion and star system imposed upon us right now.”
The storied lensman had a distinct vision for next year’s 12-month spread, “I didn’t want to make a conceptual calendar, or link it to some particular location, but rather to create 12 posters in which women, in all their sensuality, are the absolute protagonists of 12 very different images.”
Meisel and Roitfeld were given freedom to develop the direction of the iconic calendar—which is not to say the duo abandoned the calendar’s recurring theme of serious sex appeal.
“We used [the latex] to give the pictures a hint of fashion…to add to the beauty of the models—and just a touch of humor, too,” Roitfeld explains, “Steven and I are certainly not without a sense of humor, and I think that this comes across in the photos…”
As for the use of nudity, a hallmark of the calebrated calendar?
“Steven was able to transform the models, to make them stunningly beautiful, to portray their nudity with no trace of vulgarity.”
Behind the scenes with Candice Huffine
Plus-size Pirelli Calendar model Candice Huffine plays a Fifties bombshell in glamorous retro-inspired shoot.
Conscious and proud of her pioneering role, she explains: ” I love my body and am happy in it, [and] if me showing it to the world can help other ladies in any way, then game on.”
“People want to know the model as a person. I’m not just a voiceless mannequin.”…. Candice Huffine
About Candice Huffine
The 30-year-old American model has been on the rise in recent years with appearances on publications like Vogue Italia and V Magazine, and campaigns for department stores worldwide such as Marks and Spencer and Nordstrom.
Now she’s made her debut as the first official plus-size model to be featured in the calendar.
She said: “Pirelli is an exciting piece of art in fashion that comes out only once a year. I’ve always looked up to it, not to actually be part of it but to stand among these incredible women.
“It was the ultimate experience for me… I couldn’t have thought of a better first time for Pirelli for me.”
Regardless, Huffine says of her size 16 figure, that it’s never been a “thing”. “The idea of my size or weight has never come up in the casting process or even the thought process.”
Originally from Annapolis, Maryland, Candice considers New York her home.
Candice Huffine received the seal of approval as a model with her appearance in a V Magazine feature titled “Curves Ahead”, by Sølve Sundsbø.
She was already enjoying a highly successful career when she posed in June 2011 for the cover of Vogue Italia, followed by a feature in September 2011, again by Steven Meisel.
Candice has worked with photographers such as Camille Akrans, Emma Summerton, Angelo Pennetta, Damon Baker, Carine Roitfeld, Karl Lagerfeld and Ward Ivan Rafik.
She has appeared on the covers of iD, S Moda, Vogue Germany and Harper’s Bazaar.
More recently she was chosen by Steven Meisel to appear in Vogue Italia with 49 of the world’s most celebrated models for the issue devoted to the magazine’s 50th birthday.
With a growing number of admirers, Candice continues to work all over the world with well known brands like Maidenform, Marina Rinaldi, Lane Bryant, Marks & Spencer, Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, and Torrid.
Candice makes no apologies for her womanly curves. ‘I don’t mean to sound Pollyanna about it, but my body is meant to be the size that it is,’ she says. ‘I eat healthy and I work out, and my weight doesn’t move. This is where I’m meant to be.’
Candice, who is a U.S. size 12, is so comfortable in her own skin, in fact, that before her modeling career began she wasn’t even aware there was a plus-size category, let alone that she qualified for it.
“I had no idea what plus size was, I was tall and broad,’ she explained. ‘I mean, I was bigger but I thought I was slim.”
Candice recalled an instance when she was younger and a modeling agency said they would sign her if she lost 15lbs. Declining that offer may well have been the catalyst of her stardom.
‘ It’s crazy how there are these moments, a fork in the road and it dictates the rest of your life,’ she said. ‘This was a moment.’
About The Other Girls
To which British supermodel and musician Karen Elson (Miss September), 35, added: “This calendar is about women being women. We’re all very different women here. I’m 35, almost 36, two children… It’s a celebration of women, not necessarily about their size because we all come in a lot of shapes and sizes.”
The 12 models vary in age, nationality, experience, shape and lifestyle. In order of the months they feature, they are: Adriana Lima, Natalia Vodianova, Joan Smalls, Candice Huffine, Carolyn Murphy, Anna Ewers, Cameron Russell, Sasha Luss, Karen Elson, Isabeli Fontana, Gigi Hadid a nd Raquel Zimmerman
Also making her Pirelli Calendar debut is the up-and-coming American model Gigi Hadid, whom at 19 has seen a rise on her career this year. She’s the youngest of the Calendar’s stars, reason why she describes herself as the “little sister”.
“When I first saw the outfit I thought of a catwoman but then it turned into a superwoman, a superwoman behind her layer while my eyes are showing that confidence”.
Whilst most of the models went topless and revealed a bit more skin, Hadid appears wearing a black plastic corset with defined waist. She explained: “Carine understood the girls she would work with.
“I think she knew that if she covers me up more I would be able to bring a sexier side because I don’t have the confidence as yet.”
Alongside Hadid, Russian model Sasha Luss, 22, also made her Pirelli debut, in a sailor outfit with a fifties vibe. “I’m very, very happy [with the result]. I look so beautiful. I mean come on, look at my face [on the shot], look at the big smile,”.
Many of the models have had experience posing for the calendar previously and count themselves very lucky to be back.
Brazilian beauty Isabelli Fontana, who also walks the Victoria’s Secret show regularly, has been a Pirelli girl for six years and this is her seventh time to pose for the Calendar
“It’s always an honour to be part of the calendar, it’s never the same. I always look totally different and this one [pointing at the 2015 calendar] is unbelieveable. Steven is an artist and I’m very happy to be one of his girls.”
But besides the models, it’s also the debut for the creative team behind it, Roitfeld and Meisel.
“This calendar was a first for Steven and me. For both of us, it was an amazing experience. If you are in the fashion industry, working for the Pirelli Calendar is something you dream may one day happen to you,” said Roitfeld
Also talking about incorporating latex in every single shot embracing everything fetish, stylist Roitfeld said: “As a material, latex is a recurrent element in the shots: it’s beautiful it’s versatile, and it has a sheen that makes it alluring.
“All of them [the models] knew that Steven would be able to transform them, to make them stunningly beautiful, to portray nudity with no trace of vulgarity. It means everything, it’s such an exciting sign of the times we live in, and an amazing move on Pirelli’s part” ……Huffine told Harper’s Bazaar.
“They’re the epitome of sexy, they’ve [cast] the sexiest women for so many years-and they’re obviously aware that sexy females come in many shapes and sizes, and they want to celebrate that. They want to celebrate what I’ve been celebrating for a really long time. It’s just exciting, that we’re all in it together.”
Models in real life
2015 Calendar Launch Event
The Pirelli calendar was presented to the press at Pirelli Hangar Bicocca.
About Steven Meisel
Steven Meisel is fashion’s pre-eminent image-maker—prolific and innovative—visualizing the trends of every fashion season since the 1980s.
Along with his ability to cast the faces and characters that come to represent the look of fashion, Meisel has a prodigious talent for scripting story lines that reference and reflect culture.
For well over a decade, he has created every cover and lead editorial story for each issue of Italian Vogue.
There may be no other photographer-magazine relationship in any other field of such long-lasting commitment and innovation.
Like all truly great image-makers in fashion’s pantheon, Meisel not only depicts fashion, he defines it, and gives it cultural resonance.
His influences and inspirations are varied, culled from design, architecture, art, cinema, and literature.
Meisel has also portrayed our leading actresses and entertainers, defining the relationships between celebrity and fashion in the process.
Most notably, Meisel collaborated with Madonna to create their notorious book Sex (1992).
As the primary photographer for American and Italian Vogue, Steven Meisel’s continued interpretations lead and influence our understanding of contemporary fashion.
Each season, he has also created some of fashion’s most memorable campaigns for Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino, Mulberry, Lanvin, and Versace
Pirelli’s 50th Anniversary 2014
The Calendsr was the brainchild of Pirelli UK Limited, the Group’s British subsidiary, which worked on the project with ample leeway.
In 1964 the Brits, looking for a marketing strategy to help Pirelli stand out from domestic competition, appointed the art director Derek Forsyth and British photographer Robert Freeman, famous for his portraits of the Beatles, to produce what was an entirely innovative project for its day.
The result was a refined, exclusive product with artistic and cultural connotations that from the start set it apart from the world of fashion and “glamour”.
Since then, for 50 years The Calendar has continued to mark the passing of time with images by the most highly acclaimed photographers of the moment — capturing and interpreting contemporary culture and often setting new trends.
The history of the Pirelli Calendar can be divided into three different eras:
— The first decade, from 1964 to ’74, which was followed by a break in publication (for nine years) due to the world recession sparked by the Yom Kippur war and the oil crisis;
— The second decade, from ’84 to ’94, which saw the Calendar being relaunched and becoming progressively more successful;
— From 1994 to the present, spanning the turn of the millennium, during which time “The Cal”TM has achieved cult status as a trailblazer
THE CALENDAR YEARS 1964 – 2013
About Knoll Womb Chair
Saarinen was given the following brief by Florence Knoll: “I want a chair that is like a basket full of cushions to curl up and read a book in”.
Produced by Knoll since 1948, the Womb was the first fibreglass chair to be mass-produced in America.
The initial production was made by a boat builder, the only company able to produce the complex, organic form.
After winning the Museum of Modern Art Organic Design Competition with Charles Eames for their experiments with bent plywood in 1941, Eero Saarinen was eager to continue exploring the possibilities of a chair that achieved comfort through the shape of its shell, not the depth of its cushioning.
Initially, he began the investigation with designs for smaller fiberglass task chairs, but changed direction when Florence Knoll approached him and asked ….. “ Why not take the bull by the horns and do the big one first?… I want a chair that is like a basket full of pillows…something I can curl up in.”
While that’s not exactly where Saarinen ended up, the suggestion inspired one of the most iconic, and comfortable, chairs of the modern furniture movement.
“ I designed the Womb Chair because there seemed to be a need for a large and really comfortable chair to take the place of the old overstuffed chair. Today, more than ever before, we need to relax ” said Eero Saarinen in 1948
The Knoll Womb Chair and Ottoman with shell of moulded fibreglass and polyurethane foam is available upholstered in the fabrics of the Knoll collection.
The steel rod base is available in polished chrome or black powder coated finish.
The Ottoman has a foam cushion over a plywood shell.
Seat, back and ottoman cushions are polyester fiber with foam core.
Feet are stainless steel with protective nylon glides.