Each year, the release of the annual Pirelli calendar is a pretty big event in the fashion world. OK, fine, the naked models might have something to do with it.
After trying to shake things up during the last few years, it seems Pirelli has decided to nix totally naked females and feature—gasp—women known for their achievements, rather than their bodies.
Partial nudity is still on the menu—Amy Schumer and Serena Williams both powerfully pose in their skivvies—but there’s a point of view to the photos rather than being overtly sexual. And most of the other women, including Patti Smith, Yoko Ono, Tavi Gevinson, and Ava DuVernay, are fully clothed. Even better: All were shot by iconic photographer Annie Leibovitz, who also handpicked each woman.
“I started to think about the roles that women play, women who have achieved something,” Leibovitz said. “I wanted to make a classic set of portraits. I thought that the women should look strong but natural, and I decided to keep it a very simple exercise of shooting in the studio. This calendar is so completely different. It is a departure. The idea was not to have any pretense in these pictures and be very straightforward.”
In case you’re not familiar, the publication is an actual calendar that’s been distributed since 1964 by Italian tire company Pirelli to select clients and VIPs; it has historically featured artfully shot actresses and models (past women have included Sienna Miller, Kate Moss, and Heidi Klum) wearing nothing but their birthday suits.
The decision to (mostly) nix nudity and sexualized imagery comes at the perfect time: Feminism is dominating the global conversation, and—thanks to social media and tabloid culture in general—seeing naked women isn’t exactly a luxury anymore, so it makes sense that a highly regarded institution like Pirelli would buck tradition by quietly acknowledging those facts.
The full list of women—who range in age from 19 to 77—featured for 2016 are: comedian Amy Schumer, artist Yoko Ono, tennis great Serena Williams, author Fran Leibovitz, writer and actress Tavi Gevinson, director Ava DuVernay, model and activist Natalia Vodianova, actress Yao Chen, musician Patti Smith, philanthropist and art collector Agnes Gund, movie producer Kathleen Kennedy, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Dreamworks Animation Mellody Hobson, and visual artist Shirin Neshat.