By Denna Bowman
The eagerly awaited 2011 Pirelli Calender has been unveiled and there are a few surprises in store.
The Cal, which was originally launched back in 1964 by the Italian tyres manufacturer as a ‘great gift to motivate the sales force’, is renowned the world over for its stunning photos of beautiful naked women.
But over the years, it has been elevated from something to adorn a garage wall to high art.
And this year the chosen photographer – revered German fashion designer Karl Largerfeld – has made a surprising departure from the norm and included some alluring photos of men on the glossy pages.
In keeping with the Greek Mythology theme, the four male models are clad in silver-coloured, conch-shaped cod pieces.
The Cal, which has been published by the Italian tyre company since 1964, also features a tasteful shot of Hollywood A-list actress Julianne Moore as the goddess Hera and she wears a Greek-style breast plate to protect her modesty.
Plus there are mesmerising photos of Dutch supermodel Lara Stone, the wife of British comedian David Walliams, who is portrayed as the goddess of beauty Aphrodite, and a host of other gorgeous female models.
Largefeld described Pirelli as having “made an image for itself with these calendars.” He said: “You can’t buy them, and this gives them an aura of mystery. It’s a form of viral marketing way ahead of its time. When they started, they made them for mechanics and truck drivers! But they soon became landmarks in the art world.”