Pirelli Takes a New Direction in 2013 (The Models Wear Clothes!)

Pirelli Takes a New Direction in 2013 (The Models Wear Clothes!)
Adriana Lima, photographed by Steve McCurry
(Courtesy Pirelli)

Sorry, easily aroused male readers, but the Pirelli calendar is a modest proposal for 2013. Usually nude, the models in the Italian tire company’s new edition are either clothed, pregnant, or not models at all.

Putting away the T&A is a bold departure for the Cal, as Pirelli calls it. Typically, a photographer (always male, usually straight) travels to a steamy locale with 12 or so models of the voluptuous variety and shoots them in the buff. Think Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, but without the swimsuits. Last year Mario Sorrenti photographed Lara Stone and Kate Moss, among other supes, communing with nature in Corsica and leaving little to the imagination. Previously, Terry Richardson shot models, as naked as they day they were born, frolicking in a rainforest and playing with animals.

But with a new photographer comes a new vision. For 2013, Pirelli commissioned Steve Mccurry, not known among fashion circles but well known for his photojournalism, including his Afghan Girl image that appeared on a 1985 cover of National Geographic. With Rio de Janeiro as his location, he lensed models (Karlie Kloss, Isabeli Fontana, Petra Nemcova, and an expecting Adriana Lima), actresses (Elisa Sednaoui, Sonia Braga), and singer Marisa Monte — some of them Brazilian, all of them dressed. The subjects were chosen for their charity work more than anything else. Clearly, nudity would send the wrong message, and in some cases a charity deals specifically with women’s rights in developing countries, where nudity is too taboo a topic to toy with.

McCurry said of the shoot: “I would say I am a street photographer doing ‘found situations.’ You can photograph nudes anywhere. But these models are clothed, and each of them has her own charity. They are purposeful and idealistic people. So I wanted to photograph them in a special place, and Rio was perfect for this… I tried to portray Brazil, its landscape, its economy and its culture, along with the human element.”

Lee Carter is editor-in-chief of Hint Fashion Magazine.

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