STYLE

The 2018 Pirelli Calendar Features An All-Black Cast

Hooray for inclusivity!

07/21/2017 09:42 EDT | Updated 07/21/2017 09:42 EDT

The Pirelli calendar is known for featuring glamorous shots of good-looking, but usually white, people.

That's all changing.

The 2018 edition features an all-black cast of famous faces including Lupita Nyong'o, RuPaul, Naomi Campbell, P. Diddy, and many others.

Photographer Tim Walker teamed up with newly minted British Vogue editor Edward Enninful, who created a shoot inspired by illustrator John Tenniel's original Alice in Wonderland sketches from 1864.

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P. Diddy and Naomi Campbell in the 2018 Pirelli calendar.

Although previous editions have included black and brown faces, this is only the second time in the calendar's history it has featured an all-black cast, the first time being in 1987.

The release of the 2018 calendar comes at a time when the topic of diversity in fashion is at fever pitch. Enninful, who made history by becoming the first black editor of Vogue, stated that the 2018 edition is about making people feel recognized.

Given the state of the world we live in, sometimes I think we all feel like we've fallen down the rabbit hole.

"Inclusivity is more part of the conversation than it has ever been before, but it goes far beyond black and white," Enninful told the New York Times. "It is about all creeds, all colours, all sizes and people just living their truths.

"A lot of this is about digital giving people voices, and a new generation who refuse to compromise and want answers to the questions that matter to them. Given the state of the world we live in, sometimes I think we all feel like we've fallen down the rabbit hole. For me, a retelling of 'Alice' for the modern world was a perfect project, particularly once the cast fell into place."

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Lupita Nyong'o in the 2018 Pirelli calendar.

Model Thando Hopa, who appears in the 2018 calendar, told the Guardian that it's important that women and girls of all backgrounds be represented.

"[Tim Walker] said any person with a different colour should be able to see themselves in any way," she said. "So any girl, whether she is black or Chinese or Indian, they should be able to have their own fairy tale.

This is an important step in culture development — to push images that aren't generic, that don't conform to stereotypes.

"This is an important step in culture development — to push images that aren't generic, that don't conform to stereotypes."

But although it's great that the Pirelli calendar is finally promoting more people of colour, it doesn't mean that diversity is fully embraced by the fashion world yet.

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RuPaul in the 2018 Pirelli calendar.

As The Pool's Bridget Minamore points out, there are still more issues to be addressed.

"I'm not so sure that an all-black Pirelli calendar is the leap forward that some might feel it is," she writes. "When it comes to the race of the people involved, diversity in the often very white fashion world is a broadly good thing. However, it'd be a little more groundbreaking if the use of black models wasn't such an obvious gimmick.

"To my mind, the fact supermodel Naomi Campbell was in the last all-black Pirelli line-up back in 1987 best shows this. Thirty years have past, and she's still the most recognizable black model in the U.K. During this time Pirelli has only featured a handful of non-white models; it's clear that an all-black line-up isn't a sign of true editorial change."

It'd be a little more groundbreaking if the use of black models wasn't such an obvious gimmick.

Minamore also points out that in the calendar's 50-plus-year history, no people of colour have ever photographed it.

"Yes we've got an all-black Pirelli issue, but the creative team is all-male, and the person taking the photos is a white man," she writes.

It's obvious then that the fashion world still has a long way to go when it comes to true diversity in front of and behind the camera.