MILAN, Italy (Nov. 26, 2013) — To mark the 50th anniversary of the iconic Pirelli calender, Pirelli & C. S.p.A. dipped into its archives and dusted off an unreleased 1986 version, which quite neatly matches calendar year 2014 date for date.
The 1986 calendar features a dozen black-and-white images shot in the Italian countryside and villages by celebrated fashion photographer Helmut Newton that up to now have been kept out of view. Pirelli said the calendar it commissioned Mr. Newton to shoot for 1986 was never completed, as Mr. Newton stepped away from project for "personal reasons." The project was then kept under wraps in the company's archives, it said.
Pirelli did not elaborate on what "personal reasons" meant, but did say it released a 1986 calendar, one shot by American photographer Bert Stern that portrayed models playing around in imaginary contemporary artists' studios, in the role of sensual muses.
The existence of two 1986 calendar projects reflected a schizophrenia within Pirelli at that time: Pirelli's British executives had hatched the calendar idea in 1974 and driven it forward; by the mid-1980s, though, Pirelli's executives in Milan had embraced the concept as well.
The result, Pirelli said, was the commissioning of two calendar projects in 1985.
Intriguingly, Mr. Newton — best known as a photographer who specialized in nudes — produced a calendar with no nudes. His images do, however, prominently feature the gamut of Pirelli tires at the time, ranging from motorcycle to farm.
Pirelli also is organizing a host of initiatives to celebrate the anniversary, including a retrospective exhibition of calendar images in Pirelli's 'HangarBicocca' venue in Milan.
In June a special photo shoot was arranged by Pirelli in New York with noted photographers Peter Lindbergh and Patrick Demarchelier — the former shot the calendars for 1996 and 2002, the latter those of 2005 and 2008 — and a cast of models who, according to Pirelli, "have encapsulated the look" of the most recent calendars, including Alessandra Ambrosio, Helena Christensen, Isabeli Fontana, Miranda Kerr, Karolina Kurkova and Alek Wek.
Pirelli said the lengthy reconstruction work carried out on the original 1986 calendar by the Pirelli Foundation contributed to making the project possible.