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2008 Pirelli calendar pays homage to China

Top Chinese model Mo Wandan for Pirelli.

Top Chinese model Mo Wandan for Pirelli.

Pirelli has launched its 2008 calendar in Shanghai: the 35th edition of 'The Cal', the first ever realised in Asia, is an exceptional visiting card to bring the world of Pirelli to the public of the Orient.

The 2008 calendar is set entirely in Shanghai: the picturesque streets of the old French Concession, the splendid gardens of the former British Legation, the mysterious and sensual atmosphere of forbidden China, the convulsive Nanjing Road and the characteristic tea houses constitute the background for the camera shots that will grace the coming months.

The 23 intense portraits (two for each month; August has just one) recount the pomp of ancient China, with its splendour and the colours in which the Oriental myth of female beauty - perfection, purity, grace - is searched out.

Patrick Demarchelier, the influential maestro of portrait photography, who for the second time authors the celebrated almanac (his first Pirelli calendar was shot in 2005 in Rio) said: "The casting was a fascinating mix between the West and the Orient: an interesting group of faces."

Shooting last April kept 11 models and actresses occupied for 10 days of intense work that involved a troupe of over 40 people.

The leading ladies of this edition are rising stars such as Agyness Deane, Lily Donaldson, Doutzen Kroes, Catherine Mc Neil, Gemma Ward, Sasha Pivovarova, Coco Rocha and Caroline Trentini. The calendar also features Chinese beauties like Mo Wan Dan and Du Juan and one name in particular stands out: Maggie Cheung, the celebrated actress and Asian beauty, known internationally for her acting in Police Story (1985), Super Cop (1992), In the mood for love (2000), and Hero (2003).

The official unveiling of the new calendar took place just a few days after the opening of the second Pirelli tyre plant in the Shandong province. China and the other Asian markets are the new frontiers for international expansion of the group, which is investing to take advantage of the extraordinary business opportunities in the region.

'The Cal', which has always been an artistic synthesis bringing together innovation, respect for values, and tradition, also expresses Pirelli's capacity to adapt to and integrate different cultures while affirming the qualities and the glamour of what being Italian is all about.

The book The Complete Works: The Pirelli Calendar 1964-2007, published by Mondadori, will be distributed worldwide. The book is the result of a long, meticulous project of research and recovery of original materials. From the 1960s to today, the reader takes a passionate excursion through the evolution of fashion, trends, and customs of the last 40 years, in harmony with the evolution of the language of Pirelli's communication.

Patrick Demarchelier's career began on his 17th birthday when his stepfather gave him a gift that would change his life: a camera. His photographic style caught the eye of Alexander Liberman, the creative director at Vogue. By 1974 he was working for American Vogue and a year later he moved to New York where he has lived since.

Demarchelier has photographed stories for the world's top fashion publications including American Vogue, French Vogue, British Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and Vanity Fair.

He has covers to his credit that number in the thousands and recently completed a contract with Hearst Publications, which lasted just over a decade. He is currently under contract with Condè Nast.

While his career in the fashion sphere of photography is certainly legendary, his fine art photographs have also gained him immense success and prestige and he plans future exhibitions in Moscow, Paris, London, and Brazil.

In 1989, Demarchelier became, by request, Princess Diana's official photographer, the first non-Briton to photograph the royal family. This relationship lasted until her untimely death in 1997.

Demarchelier has also shot some of the world's most memorable fashion and beauty campaigns, as well as commercials for clients such as Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Versace, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Revlon, Armani, Carolina Herrera, Tommy Hilfiger, BCBG, and Guerlain.

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