Pearls of the Orient
The thirty-fifth edition of the now iconic Pirelli Calendar – the first ever to be photographed in Asia – has been unveiled in Shanghai. Set entirely in China’s largest city, the calendar uses as a backdrop the picturesque streets of the old French Concession, the splendid gardens of the former British Legation, the mysterious and sensual atmosphere of forbidden China, the convulsive Nanjing Road and the characteristic tea houses.
In each of the twenty-three portraits in this latest calendar (two for each month, except August) Pirelli aims to recount “the pomp of ancient China, with its splendour and the colours in which the Oriental myth of female beauty – perfection, purity, grace – is searched out.” Popular Chinese actress Maggie Cheung, featured in the 2008 calendar, explains this beauty: “Very often I find Western people seem to go for the more cliché Chinese faces: long hair, slanted eyes. All that has changed I think. Many Chinese women are graceful; I think we have an inner grace that’s more rare than you find in the West.”