It has been called the Sexpot Rut. Companies that once strove to cement their reputation for being “sexy” – think Victoria’s Secret, the troubled US lingerie giant – feel outdated in the current social climate. Others, such as the Italian tyre company Pirelli, whose annual calendar has been the epitome of “sex sells” since it launched in 1964, are now seeking to reposition themselves as a celebration of photography itself.
Each year, Pirelli draft in a new photographer and a new angle. This year it is the turn of Scottish-born Vogue fashion photographer Albert Watson, who famously shot the portrait of Steve Jobs that featured on the cover of his biography, as well as Kate Moss, nude, on her 19th birthday. He photographed a portfolio of images the company describes as “a photographic tale of the aspirations of four women and their determination to achieve their goals”.