Caught sight of the images from the 2018 Pirelli calendar yet? They’re causing quite a stir, and it’s no wonder.

Featuring an all black celebrity cast of characters depicting an Alice in Wonderland theme, depending on who you speak to, opinions range from; it’s about bloody time, to, it’s just a tokenistic gesture that doesn’t mean anything! No matter which camp you belong to, one thing that can’t be denied is that it is a beautiful piece of art.

Stylishly directed by recently appointed editor of British Vogue, Edward Enninful, who by the way is not being backward about shaking things up in the fashion industry. The project brings together celebrities like Naomi Campbell as the Royal Beheader, Lupita Nyong’o as a dormouse, Sean “Diddy” Combs also a beheader, South Sudanese-Australian model Duckie Thot as Alice and Whoopi Goldberg as the Royal Duchess. The images give a thought-provoking new view into the narrative of the timeless classic.

Image Credit: Tim Walker & Alessandro Scotti.

Interestingly, the concept for the shoot is the brainchild of renowned white photographer Tim Walker, who said he was keen to show that little girls can have their own fairytale. In his own words; “Any person with a different colour should be able to see themselves in any way. So, any girl, whether she is black or Chinese or Indian, they should be able to have their own fairytale.”

South African Thando Hopa, who depicted the Princess of Hearts in the calendar, agrees. Formerly a prosecutor, she also has albinism, Thando said she first got involved in modelling because she wanted to have a greater level of representation for people who look “different”.

Commenting on the calendar, she said: “This is an important step in culture development – to push images that aren’t generic, that don’t conform to stereotypes.”

The last all black Pirelli calendar was 10 years ago, when Naomi Campbell and a bunch of other models took pride of place. You can make your own mind up about whether this latest adoration of people of colour is a fad or a sign that things are changing for the better when it comes to representation in the world around us. Let’s hope that like Alice, the trend can make the leap from make-believe to real life!

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