The idea of giving away the calendar to a restricted group of important clients dates back to 1964, when the company’s British arm sought a new marketing strategy. The effect of limiting distribution was a success, and soon word of the mythical calendar went around the world.
Skip forward to the mid-80s, and Pirelli’s Italian PR department wants a slice of the action. Pirelli UK commissions American photographer Bert Stern, while Pirelli Italia engages German-Australian Helmut Newton; the American’s images are ultimately selected, but Newton’s snaps taken in Chianti and Monte Carlo are deemed too good to discard. They’re kept safely in a vault, until it’s decided that something out of the ordinary is needed for 2014 – the 50th anniversary of 'The Cal'. The stars literally aligned when it was realised that 1986 and 2014 share the same calendar year and, as a result, this year’s recipients will be treated to not only 12 previously unreleased images, but also 29 behind-the-scenes shots.
Photos: © Pirelli Calendar 2014, Helmut Newton