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2016 Pirelli calendar takes 'inspirational departure' to celebrate powerful women like Amy Schumer, Yao Chen and Serena Williams

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Penelope Travers
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The Pirelli calendar is famous for its racy shoots (last year's theme was fetish) of sultry models. So perhaps unsurprisingly, it has often been branded as outdated and objectifying.

And it looks like the tyre company has taken the criticism on board as it's moving its 2016 calendar in a whole new, pretty awesome, direction.

Instead of models, it will feature candid portraits of powerful, inspirational women, including the likes of Serena Williams, Amy Schumer and Patti Smith.

Patti Smith

American singer-songwriter Patti Smith will appear in the 2016 calendar

Pirelly teased the new calendar in a short clip on Twitter, which promised 'a radical and inspirational departure from previous years', shot by Annie Leibovitz.

The incredible line-up also includes Fran Lebowitz, Yoko Ono, Tavi Gevinson, Ava DuVernay, Natalia Vodianova, Agnes Gund, Kathleen Kennedy, Mellody Hobson, Shirin Neshat, and Yao Chen.

The incredible line-up also includes Fran Lebowitz, Yoko Ono, Tavi Gevinson, Ava DuVernay, Natalia Vodianova, Agnes Gund, Kathleen Kennedy, Mellody Hobson, Shirin Neshat, and Yao Chen.

Leibvitz said in a statement, “I started to think about the roles that women play, women who have achieved something. I wanted to make a classic set of portraits. I thought that the women should look strong but natural, and I decided to keep it a very simple exercise of shooting in the studio.

“This calendar is so completely different. It is a departure. The idea was not to have any pretence in these pictures and be very straightforward. Needless to say, those looking for tropically set nude photos are in for a surprise.”

Patti Smith also told The Cut she was proud to be part of the project, “I was very surprised I was asked, and very proud. Annie’s doing something unique and different. Pirelli is making a bold move, and I was really happy to be part of that. Also, I trust Annie, so I know any time I work with her that she’ll make certain that I do my best.”

See more behind-the-scenes pictures below.

Amy Schumer

Amy Schumer is part of the line-up

Images: Rex, Instagram, Tom Van Schelven

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Penelope Travers

Penny Travers is a freelance writer covering anything from beauty and fashion to travel and lifestyle. She has a penchant for cheese, karaoke and shoes. Not necessarily in that order.

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