Pirelli celebrates 50 years of its calendar girls with release of lost edition shot by Helmut Newton in 1986

As a previously unpublished edition shot by Helmut Newton for 1986 is released, we reflect on the publication's glamorous history

The crossover between cars and fashion is strange, and often strained.

Young fashion brands and creatives can be coaxed into the most awkward of pairings in order to pay the bills, while Mercedes-Benz has cornered the market in sponsorship of fashion weeks. As the tyre company Pirelli celebrates 50 years of its calendars with the publication of a “lost” issue shot by Helmut Newton for 1986, the roster of big-name talent in front of the camera and behind it proves that the relationship can mean big things for all involved.

Although Pirelli is an Italian company, the first calendar or “cal”, published for 1964, was actually the idea of the UK subsidiary of the company, which commissioned the British photographer Robert Freeman and the art director Derek Forsyth to create a marketing tool that would make the brand stand out from its domestic competitors. But there was more than just fashion and glamour in mind for those contributors who, caught up in the youth revolution of the time, chose young newcomers to model, photographing them against exotic beaches or natural locations. In 1972, Sarah Moon became the first female photographer to shoot for the calendar, bringing her trademark ethereal aesthetic to the product that was  distributed only to important customers.

In 1974, it was announced that financial  difficulties would put a halt to the publication, but a decade later it was back under the control of a new art director, Martyn Walsh, with the German photographer Uwe Ommer behind the lens. In 1987, Terence Donovan created the first Pirelli calendar to feature only black  models, including a then 16-year-old Naomi Campbell at the beginning of a career that has spanned nearly three decades.

In 1993, a change in management at Pirelli meant the calendars were taken in a new direction – all references to tyres and even subtle product placement were dropped – and a new era began. For the 1994 instalment, Herb Ritts shot supermodels Cindy Crawford, Helena Christensen and Kate Moss in “A Homage to Women” that intended to capture “the women of the 1990s and their place in the world: proud, sexy and beautiful on the inside”. Since that time, the connection to the fashion world has become ever stronger.

Occasionally, male subjects have permeated the usually all-alpha-female cast – in 1988 Barry Lategan included a male model for the first time, and a decade later, Bruce Weber cast actors and musicians including John Malkovich, Robert Mitchum and B B King. Refreshingly for a “glamour” publication, experience can outweigh the cult of youth, as in Nick Knight’s 2004 edition, which included Catherine Deneuve and Isabella Rosselini, or Inez and Vinoodh’s 2007 Hollywood special, featuring Sophia Loren. Surprisingly, it wasn’t until 2012 that the publication was shot by an Italian photographer, when Mario Sorrenti took Kate Moss, Milla Jovovich and Isabeli Fontana to Corsica.

In 1985, in-house competition between the British and Italian teams led to two calendars being commissioned. Pirelli Italia appointed Helmut Newton, who by that time was renowned not only for his nudes but his work as a true fashion creative. But that version didn’t go into production, as Newton stepped down for personal reasons and the Brit-commissioned Bert Stern images were sent to print.

To celebrate 50 years since the launch of the calendar, for its 2014 edition Pirelli has reconstructed that 1986 Newton cal – on which he worked with stylist Manuela Pavesi, now best known as the “right-hand woman” to Miuccia Prada – seen for the first time,  fully realised, a decade after the celebrated photographer’s death.

News
The cartoon depicts the UK (far left) walking around a Syrian child refugee
newsIn an exclusive artwork for The Independent, Ali Ferzat attacks Britain's lack of 'humanity'
Life and Style
Man taking selfie in front of car
health
Sport
footballManager attacks Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp after criticism of Diego Costa's apparent stamping
Life and Style
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Manager - OTE £40,000

    £25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This web-based lead generation ...

    Tradewind Recruitment: Intervention Teacher Required To Start ASAP.

    £125 - £150 per day + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: A 'wonderful primary ...

    Tradewind Recruitment: Maths Teacher

    £90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Our client is an 11-16 mixed commun...

    Recruitment Genius: PHP / Drupal / SaaS Developer

    £32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly developing company in...

    Day In a Page

    Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

    Greece elections

    In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
    Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

    Holocaust Memorial Day

    Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
    Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

    Magnetic north

    The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
    Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

    Front National family feud?

    Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
    Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

    Pot of gold

    Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
    10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

    From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

    While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
    Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

    'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

    Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
    DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

    The inside track on France's trial of the year

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
    As provocative now as they ever were

    Sarah Kane season

    Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

    Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore