Dec 01, 2011 12:00AM

Pirelli Calendar 2012: A Retrospective

A look back at the Pirelli archives from 1964 – 2012.

Lock it in boys and girls; Tuesday December 6 is the official release date of the 2012 Pirelli Calendar. There'll be ooh-ing and aah-ing and probably a bit of cussing when you see the 'nature-themed' images of Kate Moss, Lara Stone, Isabeli Fontana, Saskia de Brauw, Rinko Kikuchi and Milla Jovovich. Back in 1963, the fellas over at the Pirelli Tyre Company decided they wanted to thank their top customers by creating a promotional calendar that featured pin-up models, and it is still only available as a physical copy to a select number of VIP customers, as well as very few suppliers, distributors and executives at the world's fanciest car companies. In more recent years, hard copies also come with an exclusive digital download code (oh, technology), which almost makes us think this must all be related to some sort of top secret society. To mark the forthcoming calender, Oyster takes a look at previous years and the many, many bare-breasted beauties that have been a Miss January or Miss May.

1964 — 1974:
1964 started off on a sexy note with Robert Freeman behind the lens, and continued that way for a few years until Sarah Moon's 1972 reign. Her Renaissance-like images were criticised for being too romantic, while Robert Duffy's 1972 issue was condemned for its questionable style (rightly, probably - we're all for animal masks and R18 Sailor Moon outfits, but they're not very Pirelli).

1984 — 1999:
The calendar was discontinued between 1974 and 1984 as the world went into recession from the oil shock, but really hit its stride when big-deal photographer Norman Parkinson put Iman in the 1985 edition. Have you ever seen a more eighties photo?

Some (us) say the calendar's real hey day was in the nineties. An appearance in it was practically a prerequisite to even being called a supermodel. Helena, Cindy, Christy, Naomi, Eva — they all had a red-hot go.

2000 — present:
2002 was an entirely different kettle of fish to the '90s supermodels. Shot by Peter Lindbergh in Hollywood, the calendar exclusively featured actresses, mostly of the Rom Com variety. Julia Stiles, Brittany Murphy, Mena Suvari, James King, Selma Blair and Rachael Leigh Cook all threw their hat in the ring, and the result was a glamorous and seductive throwback to Hollywood's golden days.

Since 2003, every calendar has featured at least one Victoria's Secret Angel, which says something about the world's obsession with their ranks. Some of Oyster's favourite shots from the last nine years.