Once synonymous with scantily clad women, sizzling photoshoots and topless models before opting for a woke makeover in recent years, each iteration of the famous Pirelli calendar has featured the world’s most beautiful people.
Pirelli has now released glamorous vintage photos from past issues of its calendar to mark its 150th anniversary, including works by renowned photographers Peter Lindbergh, Herb Ritts and Robert Freeman.
The Italian manufacturer began releasing its starry calendar in 1964, and it chose to revisit photos of a young Cindy Crawford, Nicole Kidman, Gigi Hadid and Sophia Loren, among others, to mark the milestone.
A black-and-white image of Cindy from 1994 shows the model pouting for photographer Herb Ritts with her curls cascading over her shoulders and showing a flirtatious glimpse of cleavage in a low-cut tank top.
An image of German model Sonny Freeman Drane photographed topless by her British husband Robert Freeman is also featured in the very first issue of the calendar in 1964.
These archives can be admired on the Pirelli website alongside this year’s calendar, entitled On The Road and photographed by Bryan Adams.
Italian tire maker Pirelli has released vintage images from its past calendars to mark its 150th anniversary. They include this photo of Cindy Crawford photographed by Herb Ritts in 1994
The vintage snapshot can be admired in an interactive gallery on the Pirelli website along with the illustrated 2022 calendar, which was photographed by Bryan Adams. Pictured: Musician St Vincent poses for the more sanitized version of the calendar that has emerged in recent years
Brazilian supermodel Isabeli Fontana stands out in this 2013 calendar dive bar photo, taken by Steve McCurry. The calendar was a departure from the usual nude and provocative imagery that the calendar was known for in previous years.
The images were released to kick off Pirelli’s 150th anniversary celebrations.
They document the evolution of the often provocative material, which was once synonymous with scantily clad women in sexy poses.
Kidman, Crawford, Hadid and more are immortalized in these images spanning 58 years of the calendar.
Speaking in Milan, Marco Tronchetto Provera, CEO and Executive Vice President of Pirello, said the brand wanted to take a journey through its history on its anniversary.
‘Today we wanted to take a journey together through history but with our eyes on the future.
“Anticipating change is what Pirelli has been doing for 150 years thanks to the strength of its entrepreneurial culture and its ability to be a protagonist of the present,” he said.
Nicola Kidman posing for Peter Lindbergh in a black and white photo for the 2017 Pirelli calendar, which also featured Hellen Mirren and wanted to convey “personality, sensitivity and the courage to be yourself”
German model Sonny Freeman Drane photographed topless by her British husband Robert Freeman in the very first issue of the calendar in 1964
Swiss fashion photographer Hans Feurer snapped this tantalizing photo of the model named Marana in the 1974 calendar, who was photographed in the Seychelles
“These elements allowed us to achieve this milestone with an established brand around the world,” he added.
“We felt it was important to share this story with our city, our country and all the international groups and communities we work with every day. A thank you to all the 30,000 people who every day at Pirelli build our story .’
The CEO also said the Pirelli Calendar was a way for a company to “keep an eye on society” and connect with intellectuals and artists of the moment.
Last year, the brand largely ditched its steamy history for a new “woke” image, the nude shots aside.
The calendar was first published in 1964 and caused a stir when it featured full nudity for the first time nine years later.
After 10 years of hiatus due to financial constraints, Pirelli came back strong in 1984 – sexier and sexier than ever.
In 2009, photographer Peter Beard photographed elephants in the wild in an inspirational calendar for Pirelli that aimed to show the company’s concern for the environment.
The 2019 calendar was photographed by Albert Watson and aims to tell a complex story through the lens. It included Gigi Hadid, who played an “unhappy rich woman” drawing a comparison between her life and fish in a bowl
Also photographed by Albert Watson for the 2019 calendar, American ballet dancer Misty Copeland posed as a dancer in a strip club longing for another life
The company also published a vintage infomercial from the 1920s showing a confident driver accelerating in a car fitted with Pirelli tires.
Sophia Loren posed for the 2007 calendar, by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin. It featured five of Hollywood’s most acclaimed actresses of the time: Loren, Penelope Cruz, Hilary Swank, Naomi Watts and Lou Doillon.
The Italian tire company first signaled that it was changing direction with its 2017 calendars, announcing that it was “ripping up the rulebook” and giving the highly anticipated calendar another feminist overhaul.
The series starred Robin Wright, Julianne Moore, Charlotte Rampling and Helen Mirren (then aged 50, 55, 70 and 71 respectively) and was hailed as a triumph for its portrayal of older women.
The Pirelli calendar was once synonymous with scantily clad women, steamy photo shoots and topless models.
The 2020 calendar saw A-list stars including Emma Watson, Kristen Stewart and Claire Foy pose fully dressed – in everything from denim jackets to period costumes – as they each took on the role of Juliet from Shakespeare.
The series, photographed by renowned fashion photographer Paolo Roversi, has been dubbed the most “wok” Pirelli calendar to date.