The last time that Peter Lindbergh shot the Pirelli calendar, in 2002, his subjects were up-and-coming actresses of the moment, like Amy Smart, Rachel Leigh Cook, Erika Christensen, and James King. Glamorous and sexy, they all looked full of promise and undying youth. For the 2017 calendar, though, Lindbergh looked instead to famous women — the likes of Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Kate Winslet, Charlotte Rampling, Helen Mirren, Julianne Moore, Jessica Chastain, Robin Wright, Zhang Ziyi and Uma Thurman — who have lived long and well enough to extend their moments into careers that have unfolded across our screens. We know their faces well, and Lindbergh has left their stardom unmitigated, with little hair or makeup and completely unretouched.
"In [this] time, women are represented in the media and everywhere as ambassadors of perfection and youth. I thought it was important to remind everyone there’s a different beauty, real and truthful," Lindbergh said yesterday in Paris.
The latest edition leans into the turn the calendar made last year, when Annie Liebovitz transformed Pirelli's tradition of high-gloss pictures of unclothed, coltlike models into a political statement, by putting the likes of Yoko Ono, Patti Smith, and Ava Duvernay in casual dress. "We are used to such spectacular images — amazing locations, incredible lighting, airbrushing — we're going away from that," Mirren said as the 2017 calendar — "The Cal," as Pirelli has now trademarked it — was unveiled today at the Hotel Salomon de Rothschild. "Let's find the amazing in something that is human and real."
Lindbergh took delight in relaying the trials of shooting the calendar — the fourth he has produced for Pirelli (including his partnership with Patrick Demarchelier in 2014) — which also features younger stars like Alicia Vikander, Lupita Nyong'o, and Lea Seydoux, as well as a Moscow political theory professor named Anastasia Ignatova, who is the daughter-in-law of Rostec CEO Sergei Chemezov (Rostec, a Russian conglomerates, has significant interests in Pirelli). When Lindbergh shot Penelope Cruz in New York, she had just flown in the day before with her husband Javier Bardem and their children, and had been up all night tending to her kids. Sleep-deprived and travel-weary — "a little malaised," as Lindbergh put it — Cruz arrived to the shoot not feeling calendar-ready. So instead they went to lunch, and Lindbergh began casually taking pictures on the street. These are the ones that found their way into the calendar. They look unscripted.