What do newcomer Gigi Hadid and icons like Carolyn Murphy and Karen Elson have in common? Each appear in the 2015 Pirelli Calendar—in latex—launched in Milan. Photographed in May by Steven Meisel and styled by Bazaar’s global fashion director Carine Roitfeld, the 42nd edition of “The Cal” features the sexiest women in the modeling industry in shiny black thigh-highs and corsets. Gigi Hadid, Candice Huffine, Carolyn Murphy, Cameron Russell, Isabeli Fontana, Adriana Lima, Raquel Zimmermann, Karen Elson, Joan Smalls, Natalia Vodianova, Sasha Luss and Anna Ewers all take their turn in front of Meisel’s lens, which marks the 42nd calendar for the brand.
“In my opinion, these are the key aesthetic models of today’s world,” Meisel says, “They represent…the fashion and star system imposed upon us right now.” The storied lensman had a distinct vision for next year’s 12-month spread, “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.” Meisel and Roitfeld were given freedom to develop the direction of the iconic calendar—which is not to say the duo abandoned the cal’s recurring theme of serious sex appeal. “We used [the latex] to give the pictures a hint of fashion…to add to the beauty of the models—and just a touch of humor, too,” Roitfeld explains, “Steven and I are certainly not without a sense of humor, and I think that this comes across in the photos…” As for the use of nudity, a hallmark of the calebrated calendar? “Steven was able to transform the models, to make them stunningly beautiful, to portray their nudity with no trace of vulgarity.”
The 12 girls 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.