For the 45th edition of The Pirelli Calendar, which was shot in London last May, iconic fashion photographer Tim Walker applied his unmistakable style of extravagant sets and romantic motifs, to revisit one of the classic stories of British literature: "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland".
His inspiration came not only from Lewis Carroll’s fantastic story, but from the illustrations that Carroll himself had entrusted to John Tenniel for the first edition of 1865. In Tim Walker’s 2018 Pirelli Calendar they become 28 shots consisting of 20 different and extraordinary sets for a new unique Wonderland.
”Alice has been told so many times”, Tim Walker said, “and I think I wanted to go back to the genesis of the imagination behind Lewis Carroll so that you could tell it from the very beginning again. I wanted to find a different and original angle”.
In order to convey his idea of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Walker has portrayed a cast of 18 personalities, both established and upcoming, including musicians, actors, models, and political activists. British supermodel and actress Naomi Campbell and American actor, television personality and singer/songwriter RuPaul feature alongside Whoopi Goldberg, Sean “Diddy” Combs and Duckie Thot.
All together they form an all-black cast, for the second time after the 1987 Pirelli Calendar.
Following last year’s creation by Peter Lindbergh, Walker collaborated with two eminent artists in their own right: Shona Heath, one of Britain’s leading creative directors and set designers, and the fashion icon Edward Enninful who was the stylist behind this year’s elaborate costumes.
Commenting on his contribution to this year’s calendar, Enninful who recently became both the first male and first black editor of British Vogue said. “It is very important that the story of Alice be told to a new generation. Her adventure in Wonderland resonates with the world we live in today; obstacles we have to overcome and the idea of celebrating difference.
"Growing up in London I often lived in a fantasy world of fairy tales and detective novels. Alice was always one of my favourite characters. I always felt I was with her on the journey through Wonderland, and all of these extraordinary characters became my friends...well all but the scary Queen and her beheaders...To see a black Alice today means children of all races can embrace the idea of diversity from a very young age and also acknowledge that beauty comes in all colours.
"Culturally we are living in a diverse world. Projects like this remarkable Pirelli Calendar demonstrate that there is still hope in what sometimes feels like an increasingly cynical reality."
What goes on behind the scenes, the photo shoots, the stories and personalities of the 2018 Pirelli Calendar can be all found on the dedicated website, www.pirellicalendar.com, where visitors can explore the history of more than 50 years of The Calendar through films, interviews, photographs and previously unpublished texts.
Main image: Duckie Thot as Alice | All images courtesy of Mission Ltd