‘The Cal’ is back with an all black cast for Pirelli

The annual Pirelli calendar, affectionately known as ‘The Cal’ by its legion of fans, is returning for 2018 and it has a notable twist – an all-black cast of models.

As with the calendars of the past, the calendar has little to do with the namesake tires it should be representing, and a whole lot to do with beautiful images shot by famous photographers. Where the calendars of previous decades exuded of sex with images of women in various states of undress, the current wave of collectible calendars shows a growing diversity.

In 2016 it was Annie Leibovitz shooting a range of smart, positive and confident women, while 2017 went to Peter Lindbergh, who featured older women, fully clothed, without make-up or Photoshop.

For 2018, photographer Tim Walker assembled an impressive slate of celebrities and models for his all-black take on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The characters from the Lewis Carroll tale come alive in vibrant color, thanks to sharp styling by Edward Enninful, British Vogue editor in chief.

Djimon Hounsou plays the King of Hearts, while the Queen of Hearts is played to perfection by RuPaul (meaning the only tie to tires might be that of RuPaul’s Drag Race). Other cast members include Whoopi Goldberg as the Royal Duchess, Slick Woods as the Mad Hatter, Adut Akech as the Queen of Diamonds, with other roles played by Lupita Nyong’o, Naomi Campbell and Sean “Diddy” Combs.

A short teaser video shows a behind-the-scenes look at the artistic and highly detailed shoot, with fantastically made costumes and confident poses that evoke the fantasy. More details are on the Pirelli website and on social with the hashtag #InTheCal.

Whether or not it sells tires remains to be seen, but it certainly sells an artistic vision.

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Kyle O'Brien

I am a reporter for The Drum covering a wide array of topics but always trying to tell the best stories possible. I am a former west coaster from California and Portland, Oregon, now living in Pennsylvania — with time spent in NYC each week.

I also play saxophone professionally.

All by Kyle