The unretouched, raw female power of Pirelli stuns

For the second year in a row the famous Pirelli Calendar takes a break from the sultry pin-ups of the past. The 2016 calendar, shot by Annie Leibovitz featured accomplished women like Serena Williams, Yao Chen, Patti Smith, Yoko Ono and a stripped-down Amy Schumer. This year’s calendar sees stars without make-up taking centre stage.

Shot by renowned photographer of female beauty, Peter Lindbergh, the 2017 Pirelli cast includes Jessica Chastain, Uma Thurman, Nicole Kidman, Lea Seydoux, Robin Wright, Zhang Ziyi, Helen Mirren, Rooney Mara, Penelope Cruz, Julianne Moore, Charlotte Rampling, Alicia Vikander, Kate Winslet and more. The lineup shows a clear preference toward mature beauty -the average age of the 14 actresses is 44 years old, an anomaly in an industry that is renowned for its obsession with youth and beauty.

The unretouched, raw female power of Pirelli stuns

When Lindbergh last shot the calendar 13 years ago, his subjects were all young, up-and-coming entries in the show business like Amy Smart, Brittany Murphy, Julia Stiles, Rachael Leigh Cook, Erika Christensen, Selma Blair, Lauren Bush, James King, and Bridget Moynahan. This year, Lindbergh says, he wanted to make the spread “a love song to the women I really know and really like, and there’s no exception. Everyone in this calendar, at one point in my life, I wanted to marry, and I didn’t have the balls to ask them!”

The unretouched, raw female power of Pirelli stuns

With hair (almost) undone and the slightest make-up anyone would imagine these are Hollywood icons de-glammed. For Lindbergh these “raw portraits” will allow Pirelli fans to connect with a different kind of female beauty. 

The unretouched, raw female power of Pirelli stuns

“You take everything away, you take the perfection away, you take great hairdos and wonderful makeup away—you take everything away and you say, ‘These are the twelve of the most sensible, emotional, [actresses].’ If you shoot it on women nobody knows, well, that’s a good idea too, but then you would not make the connection. What I wanted to do was get the 12 actresses who are the most important actresses—after them, there are not many others left—and use them with that message. Not to put them in character, not to do anything to them, [just say] ‘This is them, and they are raw, and they are sensible, and they are emotional.’ This is beautiful for me. That’s why I like this calendar more than any other before, including the ones I did” he says.

“Beauty today is really twisted, for commercial reasons, so people think beautiful is what you see in advertising and in magazines—all these retouched women” he adds. “You have to be perfect, you have to be thin, you have to be young—you have to be all this, and this is bullshit. It’s so awful, and this image of beauty is imposed on people for commercial reasons, because you can’t make money [if] you say to someone, ‘You know what, you’re beautiful the way you are.’”

Photos via Elle