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‘For me, a retelling of Alice for the modern world was a perfect project, particularly once the cast fell into place.’The thing about pushing boundaries — as Enninful clearly thinks he is — is that there is no point in pushing them simply for the sake of it. And try as I might, I simply cannot find it in these pictures.Enninful says: ‘For me, a fashion story works best when it says something about the times we live in.’Maybe I’m being dense, but what his peculiar Pirelli tableaux says about life today is anyone’s guess.Terence Donovan shot the first one, a simple but classy assemblage of bikini-clad lovelies.Since then it has become a rite of passage for all celebrated photographers and models, from Herb Ritts to Patrick Demarchelier, Mario Testino to Bruce Weber, Norman Parkinson and more.Even Ru Paul (whose show, Ru Paul’s Drag Race, is a favourite with my teenage daughter and her friends) seems to be less than her exuberant self.The reason for this, it transpires, is that this is not just a calendar shoot, not just an overpriced marketing tool for tyres, a bit of a laugh to hang on a garage wall.Helena Christensen, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Eva Herzigova, Sophie Dahl, Gisele Bundchen, Heidi Klum: the roll call of beauties who have bared all in the name of art and rubber reads like a Who’s Who of every model/actress/whatever to have graced a red carpet or the pages of a glossy magazine.But the latest one features a quite different collection of characters — including rap stars and a drag queen — supposedly recreating Alice In Wonderland. Over the years the calendar — or the Cal, as it’s known — has chronicled changing fashions and aesthetics, always within the narrow parameters of its brief: to be the ultimate in naughty chic, a deliciously wicked, transgressive fantasy.
Beautiful, of course; but the very opposite of steamy.The nudity now was ironic: the comedian Amy Schumer in high heels and a pair of knickers, her soft tummy folds unapologetically on display, a takeaway coffee in hand; singer-songwriter Patti Smith, bare-faced and fully clothed in jeans and Doctor Martens; Yoko Ono, in top hat and tuxedo, her spindly legs clad in black tights; and tennis champion Venus Williams, masculine and muscular like a Greek warrior.