#TheCalExperience: Steven Meisel for Pirelli Cal in its most classic format

#TheCalExperience at Royal Palace of Milan.


Pirelli brought the most beautiful women in the world in the new edition celebrating the arrival of 2015. The 2015 Pirelli Calendar was presented at Pirelli HangarBicocca, the Pirelli contemporary art space in Milan. Milan was chosen as the venue with the aim of showing an iconic object with the “Made in Italy” label in the city that in 2015 is to be the flagship of Italy in the world when it hosts the Expo Milano 2015 international exhibition. Published for the first time in 1964, the 2015 edition by Steven Meisel brings the total number of Pirelli calendars so far to 42, by 33 different photographers.

The creator of the forty-second edition of The Cal, Steven Meisel is one of the world’s most successful fashion photographers, and is known for his eclectic but also reserved personality. 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 led by Carine Roitfeld – the former editor of Vogue France and long at the forefront of the fashion system – and by Pat McGrath, one of the world’s most famous make-up artists.

Meisel has captured some of the most representative icons of today’s society in his highly colourful images: “In my opinion”, says Meisel, “these are the key aesthetic models of today’s world. They represent the stereotypes that the fashion and star system impose upon us right now. 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. Since I wanted to limit the use of clothes and accessories and since I had absolute creative freedom, I found it very exciting to play with the colours, the makeup, and the materials. It was a very rewarding experience.”

This year’s Calendar year is titled Calendar Girls 2015, and the 12 girls in question are top and emerging models: the Americans Gigi Hadid, Candice Huffine, Carolyn Murphy (who all appeared in the 1999 Calendar by Herb Ritts) and Cameron Russell, the Brazilians Isabeli Fontana (who was in the Pirelli Calendars by Bruce Weber in 2003, by Patrick Demarchelier in 2005, by Peter Beard in 2009, by Karl Lagerfeld in 2011, by Mario Sorrenti in 2012, and by Steve McCurry in 2013), Adriana Lima (who was in the 2005 Pirelli Calendar by Patrick Demarchelier and in 2013 by Steve McCurry) and Raquel Zimmermann. Then there is Karen Elson from England (photographed in 2006 by Mert and Marcus), the Puerto Rican Joan Small (in the 2012 Pirelli Calendar by Mario Sorrenti), the Russians Natalia Vodianova (also in the 2003 Pirelli Calendar by Bruce Weber, in 2004 by Nick Knight and in 2006 by Mert and Marcus) and Sasha Luss, as well as Anna Ewers from Germany.

The launch of the 2015 Calendar comes just a few days before the opening of the Forma e Desiderio – The Cal Collezione Pirelli exhibition, which is held at the Palazzo Reale in Milan from 21 November to 19 February 2015. Promoted by the City of Milan-Culture under the patronage of Expo Milano 2015, and organised and produced by the Palazzo Reale and GAmm Giunti, the exhibition has been made possible thanks to the fundamental contribution of Pirelli, which has opened up its fifty-year archive of The Cal for the display.