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Having taken a break for its 50th-anniversary calendar last year, which reissued old photographs from its archives, Pirelli is coming back in 2015 with a heavy fashion bang.
The famed Pirelli Calendar — or The Cal, as it’s called — will feature photographs taken by Steven Meisel and styled by Carine Roitfeld of 12 of the world’s top high-fashion models. They include: Adriana Lima, Natalia Vodianova, Raquel Zimmermann, Isabeli Fontana, Sasha Luss, Anna Ewers, Carolyn Murphy, Cameron Russell, Gigi Hadid, Candice Huffine, Karen Elson and Joan Smalls.
Also, Huffine became the first plus-size model to be featured in the 50 years of The Cal’s existence.
Smalls — who shot for the calendar a second time — said it was Meisel who brought her back.
“I was [pleased] because this is my second time, but shooting it with Steven Meisel, he’s a legend,” she said, while sporting Alexander Wang trousers, a Rag & Bone sweater and Gucci sneakers. “There are so many beautiful women who can be doing this, so because there were only 12 girls selected, I feel very honored.”
She was playing a boxer on-set, she said, which wasn’t too much of a stretch for her.
“I loved the character I had to play. I used to box and it was related to boxing, but they didn’t have me box. It was character-driven — like a boxer mixed with a dominatrix.”
To prep, Smalls said she avoided dairy “because it makes me bloated,” and worked out on a strict regiment for the weeks preceding the shoot.
For Murphy, being associated with Meisel, Pirelli and Roitfeld was enough to clear her entire schedule.
“Even if I had a lot going on this week, I would absolutely have cleared it for this shoot,” she said. “I learned about it [the calendar] since the Nineties. Since then, I’ve learned about it so much more. As a model, it’s a true honor to be in it. Doing Pirelli is very different because it’s about being a woman and celebrating becoming a woman.”
The shoot brought together industry veterans and rookies alike, like Hadid, the 19-year-old fresh-faced “It” girl who has since become Roitfeld’s newest muse.
“When I heard I was being a part of this, I thought they were kidding,” she said. The Los Angeles-based model — who is in her second year at NYU — was wearing a white T-shirt and jeans with her golden locks in a tight Heidi braid.
“I was like, ‘They want me in it?’ I guess there has to be that next generation. Carine Roitfeld has been so supportive with my career. She really pushed for me. I’m so grateful to have her in my life.”
In the shoot, Hadid is photographed playing volleyball, a sport she played in high school, which contrasts heavily with another more sexy shoot involving latex.
“I’m wearing all latex in one shot, which is very cool,” she said. “I’ve never worn latex before but everyone’s, like, telling me that it would suck because you get all sweaty and you can’t breathe. But I really like it and now I want latex leggings.”
The entire calendar was shot in New York City and will debut in November.