Here’s the funny thing about life in the 21st century: these days, we’re more surprised when someone isn’t flashing flesh. We’re so accustomed to seeing the female form in a state of undress that the bigger statement is sometimes made when clothing is kept on.
The Pirelli Calendar is notorious for its artfully shot, tastefully erotic photography, but this year the annual is going in a bold new direction. The eagerly anticipated 2016 calendar has nixed nudes in favour of showcasing inspirational women with (most of) their clothes intact.
The calendar’s stars, shot by renowned portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz, are: Yoko Ono, Patti Smith, Serena Williams, Amy Schumer, author Fran Lebowitz, writer Tavi Gevinson, Selma director Ava DuVernay, philanthropist Agnes Gund, producer Kathleen Kennedy, model and charity founder Natalia Vodianova, businesswoman Mellody Hobson, Iranian visual artist Shirin Neshat and Chinese actress Yao Chen.
Leibovitz said in a statement: “I started to think about the roles that women play, women who have achieved something. I wanted to make a classic set of portraits. I thought that the women should look strong but natural, and I decided to keep it a very simple exercise of shooting in the studio.”
The 2016 Pirelli Calendar will only be given to an exclusive set of VIPs, but you can check out the ground-breaking shots above.