We've been eagerly awaiting Annie Leibovitz's Pirelli Calendar images since September, when the Italian auto company announced the photographer's concept for the 2016 edition: women of all ages and achievements, looking like their strong selves. These pin-up women for the 21st century include writer Fran Lebowitz, musician and performer Yoko Ono, businesswoman Mellody Hobson, actress and writer Tavi Gevinson and many more activists and trailblazers.
On Monday, Pirelli released the first images of 2016's cast, all photographed in-studio in simple black and white. No one is completely naked, though tennis champion Serena Williams and comedian Amy Schumer come close. The images are strikingly spare and elegant — beautiful and not sexual.
The calendar — which the company gifts to VIPs and clients — has eschewed nudity several times in the past (most recently in 2013), but Leibovitz's images have been more stripped down than any other photographer's. She also shot the calendar in 2000, featuring ballet dancers in the nude.
If these images give you Vanity Fair vibes, there's a few reasons. Not only is Leibovitz a frequent contributor to the magazine (she photographed Caitlyn Jenner's cover this year, for example), but the calendar was styled by the magazine's fashion and style director, Jessica Diehl, and Senior Photo Producer Kathryn Macleod served as creative consultant.
In addition to the aforementioned women, the 2016 Pirelli Calendar also features portraits of actress and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Yao Chen, model Natalia Vodianova, Hollywood producer Kathleen Kennedy, art collector Agnes Gund with her granddaughter Sadie Rain Hope-Gund, film director Ava DuVernay, Iranian visual artist Shirin Neshat and singer Patti Smith.
See a behind-the-scenes video with Leibovitz at PirelliCalendar.com.