After driving down dimly lit, windy roads to Paris’ Saint-Denis suburb, some 500 guests arrived at a giant hanger in the Cité du Cinema for a star-studded black-tie dinner celebrating the 44th Pirelli calendar, shot by German photographer and film director Peter Lindbergh.
The evening boasted a cinematic atmosphere, serving as a fitting tribute to the photographer, whose black and white images are inspired by the movies. For Lindbergh’s third shoot for the iconic Pirelli calendar, titled Emotional, the renowned photographer created a beautiful revolt against the “terror of perfection and youth.” He shot 14 actresses—including Academy Award winners and nominees Penélope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, Helen Mirren, Alicia Vikander, Charlotte Rampling, and Lupita Nyong’o—“nude.” Not in the literal sense, but rather the women were photographed raw and untouched, in order to feature a beauty that can only emerge with the passing of time; a raw beauty that vulnerably reveals heartbreak, motherhood, wins, losses and age.
Vogue Arabia’s Special Projects Director, Mohieb Dahabieh, and Afef Jnifen in custom Giambattista Valli.
While guests dined on ravioli, pumpkin cream butternuts, and roasted veal filet mignon, a full orchestra and choir delighted with an emotionally charged musical lineup of soundtracks from the movies Forrest Gump, La vita è bella, Moonriver, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Gentlemen in black tie were later seen faux conducting at their tables as the orchestra dove into Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony – IV Movement with brio.
Throughout the evening, film outtakes appeared on hanging screens in a moving tribute to the world of cinema, but the most thought-provoking moments came from the screening of a behind-the-scenes film, where actresses shared their respective thought processes while on the calendar shoot. Dame Helen Mirren, 71, commented, “I really thought about it—about who I am at this point in time—and how can I then show that in an honest and straightforward way to the camera.” Several actresses confessed that they found it to be a challenge to reveal themselves for the shoot and not be able to hide under the cover of a character.
Actress Charlotte Rampling, 70, made one of the most thought-provoking comments of the evening, stating: “I think that what happens (in our business) is that we start out when we’re very young, hopefully being very true to ourselves, and that’s where our talent starts to grow. Then, the profession can start to put so many limits on that, and so many difficulties, so you’re not actually being the true person that you are; you’re hiding it to protect yourself. With someone like Peter, that’s where he wants to get to. He wants to get to that vulnerable part […]. I want to reveal myself through Peter Lindbergh’s eyes.”
Kate Winslet, 41, mused: “They are constantly trying to make us look like a softer version of 40 or a more youthful, fresher version of 50. Well, isn’t it OK to just be 40, or 50, or 60?”
To quote Peter Lindbergh, “There is no beauty without truth.”
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