Long gone are the days when the Pirelli Calendar was essentially a collection of pinup photos of conventionally beautiful women. In 2016, the calendar revamped its image with photos by Annie Leibovitz that starred women who are known for more than just their appearances, many of whom were depicted actually wearing all their clothes. (Gasp!). In 2017, A-list actresses were shot by Peter Lindbergh sans makeup and retouching to focus on a different kind of natural beauty.
Now, for 2018, the Calendar is featuring another first: an all-black cast. Styled by Edward Enninful and lensed by Tim Walker, the next calendar reimagines "Alice in Wonderland" with an all-star group that includes Adwoa Aboah, Slick Woods, Lupita Nyong'o, RuPaul, Naomi Campbell, Whoopi Goldberg, Lil Yachty, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Sasha Lane and more.
"The story of Alice has been told so many times and in so many ways, but always with a white cast," Walker told The New York Times. "There has never been a black Alice, so I wanted to push how fictional fantasy figures can be represented and explore evolving ideas of beauty."
The fact that many of the cast members have been lauded as "image activists" at one point or another — Naomi Campbell as the OG black supermodel, RuPaul as perhaps the world's most famous drag queen, Thando Hopa as an albino lawyer and model, just to name a few — lends credence to Walker's idea that ideas of beauty are evolving. And throughout the images, Walker brings his characteristically fantastical eye to bear on the project, outfitting the models in outlandish garb and Wonderland-appropriate sets.
"To me, the Pirelli change in direction suggests they are observing what 2017 needs, where the youth are going and what kind of imagery should be out there," Aboah told The New York Times. "We don't need any more pinup imagery, and this cast really does depict new ideas of what beauty is. And it certainly doesn't mean not wearing any clothes."
It's no less important for youth to see that it doesn't have to mean being white, either.
Click through the gallery below to see more behind-the-scenes imagery from the 2018 Pirelli Calendar.