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Pinups for the auto elite
Highly desired but hard to get, the sexy 2005 Pirelli calendar is unveiled -- so to speak.
February 15, 2005: 11:09 AM EST
By Steve Hargreaves, CNN/Money staff writer
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Pirelli

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) Call it a girly pin-up for metrosexuals.

Since 1964, the Italian tire maker Pirelli has produced a promotional calendar that combines art, fashion, culture and photography.

Conceived as an alternative to ho-hum marketing materials, the Pirelli calendar is a sexy showcase designed to satisfy both sports car owners and the mechanics who work on them.

Whether it helps the company sell more tires is an open question. But the calendar does reinforce a fashionable image for Pirelli -- no mean trick in a business as unglamorous as tires.

It is shot by top fashion photographers, at choice locations, using some of the world's most beautiful models, who flash plenty of skin.

Last week, the company unveiled the U.S. edition of the 2005 effort. It features Naomi Campbell and a number of other fashion superstars, who pose in a lush Brazilian setting. (Click here to see images from the calendar.)

The calendar won't be available on the magazine rack at NAPA or even in the naughty section at Spencer Gifts. Pirelli hands it out only to suppliers, distributors and executives at the world's biggest and most exclusive automakers as well as other select notables.

"It's a huge deal," said Michelle Leo from Ford Models, one of the premier agencies in the world. "All the top models have been in it."

Past models include Cindy Crawford, Kate Moss, Milla Jovovich and Heidi Klum.

The years usually have themes, such as 1987's calendar dedicated entirely to black models, in which a 16-year old Campbell made her first appearance.

In 1998, the calendar featured men for the first time. That one included shots of Ewan McGregor, B.B. King, Kris Kristofferson, John Malkovich and Bono, paired with female models.

2002 had a Hollywood theme and featured Brittany Murphy, Amy Smart, Julia Stiles, Rachel Leigh Cook, Selma Blair and First Niece Lauren Bush.

The 2005 calendar is shot by French photographer Patrick Demarchelier, who has previously worked for Ann Klein, Harper's Bazaar and photographed the late Princess Diana.

Shot entirely in black and while, Demarchelier uses a Brazilian beach and an old colonial house as backdrops. The press release says the "photographs investigate the most mysterious aspects of the models . . . seeking out the invisible source of their allure."

Although the 2005 calendar is not for sale, previous copies are available on eBay. Expect to pay $10 to $50 for a recent issue and close to a thousand for an older one, depending on the year, content and condition.  Top of page

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