Pirelli 2016 Calendar Ditches Nude Models In Favour Of 'Strong, Natural' Women Like Amy Schumer, Serena Williams And Patti Smith

Once upon a time Pirelli calendars were synonymous with nudes and knickers, but now the Italian annual has had something of a revamp.

The eagerly anticipated 2016 calendar breaks with tradition, by ditching nude models in favour of inspirational women who are redefining the world today.

Shot by renowned portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz, the calendar stars Yoko Ono, Patti Smith, Serena Williams, Amy Schumer, author Fran Lebowitz, writer Tavi Gevinson, Selma director Ava DuVernay, philanthropist Agnes Gund, producer Kathleen Kennedy, model and charity founder Natalia Vodianova, businesswoman Mellody Hobson, Iranian visual artist Shirin Neshat, and Chinese actress Yao Chen.

Now, a handful of photos have been released - including a semi-nude Amy Schumer and Serena Williams showcasing her powerful physique.

Posting about the shoot on Facebook, Schumer wrote: "Beautiful, gross, strong, thin, fat, pretty, ugly, sexy, disgusting, flawless, woman. Thank you Annie Leibovitz!"

Amy Schumer

Leibovitz 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 pretense in these pictures and be very straightforward."

Patti Smith, who has been working with Leibovitz for years, told Vogue it was an offer she couldn't refuse.

"It was fantastic because I’ve been shooting with Annie since the 70s, and so we’ve been through the trenches together," said Smith.

"I was very surprised that I was asked, and I was very proud that I was asked, and I think that Annie is doing something unique and different, and Pirelli is making a bold move. I look at Annie’s project not as a protest, but as a celebration."

The calendar is available now.

Pirelli 2016 Calendar