If there was ever a time that we, collectively, needed to see a new take on an old story, it is most definitely now. Which of course begs the question, “Is there ever a bad time to view an old tale through a different lens?” Of course not. But if you haven’t yet begun the work the future needs, the present demands it.
The Pirelli calendar, a long-celebrated, highly anticipated, and extremely limited annual publication (not for sale, and usually gifted to “sports car moguls and A-listers) is renowned for its provocative glamour and gorgeous imagery–but, insofar as I can tell, a somewhat limited scope regarding diversity. A glance through the previous years’ offerings evidences that while the concept of creative story-telling through the medium of their calendar is striking and imaginative, their imagination appears to stretch only so far in terms of inclusiveness and representation. I mean, it’s not just me, right? Historically speaking, there’s an awful lot of scantily clad and titillating white bodies happening here.
The 2018 Pirelli calendar, I am excited to see, is a jaw-dropping, ecstatic delight in terms of both both bold visuals and dynamic representation, and is hopefully emblematic of many such progressive decisions to come with regard to future visions for the calendar. Photographed by Tim Walker and styled by Vogue U.K. editor in chief Edward Enninful (British Vogue’s first black editor in chief), this year’s version”captures in pictures the surreal world of dreams” and holds a looking glass up to the world we are living in today, to reflect back for us the iconic imagery of Alice In Wonderland …with a stunning, all-star, all black cast for which to gyre and gimble through Lewis Carroll’s curious tale.
Walker says that he was trying to present a different take on the age-old story. “It was written a long time ago for the times that were then, and I think we’re living in different times now. I wanted to talk about Alice in the times we’re at today,”
“To see a black Alice today means children of all races can embrace the idea of diversity from a very young age,” Enningful said in a press release.
Sean Combs. Whoopi Goldberg. Naomi Campbell. Lupita Nyong’o. RuPaul. Lil Yachty, Duckie Thot. Zoe Bedeaux. Slick Woods.Sasha Lane. Djimon Hounsou. Adwoa Aboah. These beautiful black models, musicians, and activists cavort and contort through Lewis Carroll’s madcap, marvelous world–glowering and gleeful, audacious, and exultant. Imagery potent and immensely powerful.
“Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas—!” Alice exclaimed. More ideas like this, please, Pirelli. More vibrant, progressive stories for now. For the future. For everyone.