The myth of the Pirelli Cal
It was the 1964 edition that introduced the Pirelli calendar to international stardom. Due primarily to the "friendly" but sexy pictures of Robert Freeman, the Beatles' chosen photographer for their "magical" tours. It was an immediate success: the models, immortalised on the splendid beaches of the Côte d'Azur, shocked a country that was emerging from the austerity of the 1950s.
Within a new years, "The Cal" became a status symbol, although in 1974 severe budget cuts due to two oil crises forced the company to suspend publication. At the time, British tabloid "The Sun" wrote: "Oh no! They've sacked the models!" But it wasn't forever.
After the oil crisis, in 1984, the Calendar made a comeback, thanks to the talent of Uwe Ommer. But it took until 1984, another ten years, for the Calendar to become an integral part of the Pirelli business brand. Even then there was a need for new ideas, and that year they were embodied in the innovative style of "genius" Herb Ritts, followed by Richard Avedon the following year, and they immortalised supermodels such as Cindy Crawford, Kate Moss, Helena Christensen and Naomi Campbell.
In its forty years' history, the Pirelli Calendar has proposed an astonishing array of styles and models of beauty. And now, after 40 editions, it is still a reference point that epitomises the changes and transformations in our society.