The ultimate of all art/fashion calendar bookings for any female model, the Pirelli Calendar is a typically nude item that has been distributed for free to very special customers by the car tire company since its first issue in 1964. It’s perhaps the world’s most exclusive fashion product – only 20,000 are printed, and you can’t buy them directly from the company; you need to find your way onto their mailing list! Typically shot by the world’s finest photographers and featuring the big-name models of the time, its cache and high budget make the appearance of larger models a particularly rare occasion indeed.
Sophie Dahl was the first professional plus size model to appear, in the “Women of the Ages” calendar for February 1999 by the late Herb Ritts, shot in Los Angeles;
A ‘making of’ video is linked here. Set the option to play video for 1999.
…and Pollyanna McIntosh followed 5 years later, in a “choose your fantasy” calendar for December 2004 by Nick Knight, shot in London. The fantasies were written by celebrity artists, and enacted by the various models. Pollyanna notably worked with Knight on this previous editorial which no doubt factored into her booking the calendar.
Calendar shot is above; an outtake is below.
A short video of the Nick Knight shoot (this is part 3 of 3):
Fashion TV video
HANDY HINT: click on the FS button at bottom right of the pictures to view the images at Full Screen size – they’ll be much larger. Or click on SL for a slideshow. Either way, use your ESC button to close the screen when you are done.
THE PIRELLI GIRLS
(shots via Daily Mail UK, uncredited; colour image via WWD)
And now – meet the elegant and serenely sexy ‘April’
As it has been 10 years since the last appearance of a larger model in The Cal, many media outlets have incorrectly reported that Candice’s appearance is the first of a plus model to date. While the spotlight on Candice reminds everyone that larger models should no longer be overlooked for work of this kind, it is unfortunate that the past appearances of Sophie and Pollyanna are overlooked as the result of media hype.
Candice on the cover of The Times UK supplement Magazine, 9 August 2014
“How did Carine and Steven bring my fierce inner pussycat out? They always do! It was really exciting for me to be back with the team that I was so familiar with. It felt like my fashion family. I couldn’t imagine shooting for Pirelli for the first time with anybody other than these people. They make me love myself more, somehow. They are so appreciative and they embrace my body; it’s something that I never expected at this level of high fashion…that I’d be so embraced. Carine moves mountains to get things that fit me perfectly. They’ve put in so much hard work and energy into thinking about how they’re going to shoot me and what my look will be.”—Candice Huffine*
The times are changing in other ways. One of the key concepts of the Pirelli calendar in years past was the representation of a tyre print be part of every image. Keen eyes will be able to spot the graphic in the shots of Sophie and Pollyanna, but there is no hint of it in any of the 2015 editions.
Material sourced from Pirellical.com, various news outlets, Candice’s Instagram, and Excel Models
* as published on CR.com
* This post first published 6 June, 2009