A Rumination on the 2015 Pirelli Calendar

06/08/2014 § 3 Comments


I’m not sure how closely you follow the annual release of the Pirelli Calendar, so I’ll give you a quick rundown. Since 1964 the calendar has been known as an annual high-gloss, high-glamour affair, featuring marquee name models shot by equally notable photographers (Lindbergh, Avedon, Ritts, Testino, Sorrenti, Weber…even Richardson). It’s printed in an exceptionally limited edition and gifted to a select group of important clients and VIPs. It’s sort of like the highest possible form of those cheesy automotive calendars you might expect to see hanging in a garage – and yes, nudity is known to abound.

 So why on earth are we talking about this? Glad you asked!

It turns out that this year’s edition – the 50th, if you didn’t notice already – features a beautiful plus-size model named Candice Huffine, pictured above. While purists argue she isn’t the first woman over a size 10 to appear in “The Cal,” citing Sophie Dahl in 1999 and Pollyanna MacIntosh in 2004, Huffine is being touted in the media as such.  Admittedly, I was caught a bit off-guard by the announcement, but in a good way.  It made me think about a few things in quick succession.  First, why was I initially shocked by the idea?  As if Huffine didn’t belong in a sea of nearly naked Adriana Limas and Joan Smalls, perhaps?  No matter the reason, that feeling quickly gave way to excitement at this small victory in the battle to shift entrenched standards of beauty.

While Huffine is obviously super-humanly attractive, the fact that her body more closely resembles those bodies belonging to us “mere mortals” is a move in the right direction.  This acceptance of a deviation from the norm ushers us to a point of reflection: what is the norm? why is this a deviation? how do we feel about that? how do we feel about our own bodies as a result? what kind of representations of beauty do we personally prefer? what kind of representations should we endorse?

This subject has inspired me to work on a new Charm School entry that touches on a subject I’m surprised I haven’t yet dealt with: body image.  In the meantime, I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject of the Pirelli Calendar and Candice Huffine’s appearance in it.

Watch this space.  The conversation will continue.

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§ 3 Responses to A Rumination on the 2015 Pirelli Calendar

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  • Gail Keefe says:

    It’s funny, because I glanced at the picture, then started to read your piece. Then I had a moment of, “Wait! That’s the plus-size model?” I looked again, and still all I saw was a gorgeous woman. Yes, people should take care of their bodies (am I listening?), but a woman as obviously attractive as she is has nothing to worry about.

  • Jessie says:

    As someone who has struggled a lot with body image, I’ve spent some time deliberating and debating this topic of beauty and the way it is portrayed in fashion and media. Lately I think what is needed a variety of sizes. Because when we are inundated with hundreds and thousands of size 0 women, of course someone like Candice Huffine is going to make everyone double take because she is going to stick out like a sore thumb even as gorgeous as she is. I’d appreciate if people would stop parading around a “plus-sized” model every once and a while to prove a point. If in every campaign and ad we saw all sizes between 2 and 12+ (ages and ethnicities are a whole different topic for a different day) then girls and women would see themselves represented. I’m looking forward to your charm school post!

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