Pirelli? Don't they make tires?

Yes, indeed, the Pirelli Clan is mainly in the business of tire production, but like Michelin has its interest in good cooking, Pirelli too has an interest in the arts, beautiful women in exquisite (NOT explicit) photographs, to be precise.

So they publish a nudie calendar?

Not really. You see, the Calendar is not really about the depicted women (who are not necessarily nude), but rather to produce a set of pictures of high artistic level by utilizing the photographer's creativity and giving him a certain theme to work with, always trying to be on the forefront of photographic and stylistic innovation, stretching the parameters of sensual fantasy and fabulous photography and redefining the rules of glamorous photography. Or so they say themselves. The aim is to create a calendar fit to be hung in museums, not garages (once again, the tire connection).

The photographers are usually world famous talents, as are the models, usually depicted in an erotic, but not vulgar way. Nude pictures are common, but not required, in fact some of the nicer ones are not nude. The artistic and esthetic quality really is amazing, and back issues give an interesting insight into the european styles of art and fashions of the recent years.

Sounds nice, so where can I get one?

Ah, the here's the catch: You can't! (Me neither, for that matter) Yes, you read correctly, this piece of beauty and art can not be bought, anywhere. It is printed in a strictly limited edition of 40,000 copies worldwide, given out as a gift to very good customers of Pirelli, VIPs and "relevant personalities". That's right, only 1:155000 or 0,0006451% of the world's population has a chance of receiving one directly, and back issues, when sold at all, fetch phenomenal prices.

So, in effect, it is an elitarian product to differentiate the bigwhigs from the masses, to make them feel good about themselves, and to give the name of Pirelli a flair of exclusiveness. Us proles may be happy to see some of the photographs reprinted in magazines or posted on the net. How nice, so now I know where not to buy my next set of tires...

Photographers and locations:

  • 1964: Robert Freeman in Majorca
  • 1965: Brian Duffy in the South of France
  • 1966: Peter Knapp in Al Hoceima, Morocco
  • 1967: Not Published
  • 1968: Harry Peccinotti in Tunisia
  • 1969: Harry Peccinotti in Big Sur, California
  • 1970: Francis Giacobetti in Paradise Island, The Bahamas
  • 1971: Francis Giacobetti in Jamaica
  • 1972: Sarah Moon in Villa Les Tilleuls, Paris
  • 1973: Brian Duffy in London
  • 1974: Hans Feurer in The Seychelles
  • 1975-83: Not published
  • 1984: Uwe Ommer in The Bahamas
  • 1985: Norman Parkinson in Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 1986: Bert Stern in the Cotswolds, England
  • 1987: Terence Donovan in Bath, England
  • 1988: Barry Lategan in London
  • 1989: Joyce Tennyson in the Polaroid Studios, New York
  • 1990: Arthur Elgort in Seville, Spain
  • 1991: Clive Arrowsmith in France
  • 1992: Clive Arrowsmith in Almeria, Spain
  • 1993: John Claridge in the Seychelles
  • 1994: Herb Ritts at Paradise Island, the Bahamas
  • 1995: Richard Avedon in New York
  • 1996: Peter Lindbergh in El Mirage, California
  • 1997: Richard Avedon in New York
  • 1998: Bruce Weber in Miami
  • 1999: Herb Ritts in Los Angeles
  • 2000: Annie Leibovitz in Rhinebeck, N. New York City
  • 2001: Mario Testino in Naples, Italy
  • 2002: Peter Lindbergh in Hollywood, Los Angeles
  • 2003: Bruce Weber in Campania, Italy
  • So, where's the good stuff?

    • A small selection of even smaller thumbnails of some of the more recent calendars is viewable at Pirelli's official Website:

      How nice of them to share...