i got the cal!

i know my new post should have been a proper review of the cavalli advertisment, but this morning i finally got the parcel i was waiting for since christmas and it was exactly the present i wished it could be: the 2009 pirelli calendar! :-)
i want to write here a BIG THANK YOU to the international friend who had this very kind nice lovely idea and sent this totally unexpected present to me! now i feel like a vip (lol!!!) and the multidaria in the pond page is on the wall in front of me, just above the italian literature encyclopedia.
postmodern still life

postmodern still life

let me say the cal is rather huge and every comment i made about it is confirmed after i can watch it *live*: daria pics are really the best thing. not all of them, those with fontana in the dust are rather dubious in my opinion, but those in the pond and the one with the dead bird are beautiful. this cal looks confused and its message is a messy pastiche. i think the only way to save it is to try to see a sort of mad visionarism, but as i said before symbolism is very low and poor. maybe beard is simply a photograph who lost his creativity… in my opinion, again, only daria’s allegoric body is strong in this project.
pirelli is very strict about copyright, so for the moment i just scanned a detail of a january extra. it’s difficult to scan it, let’s see if i’ll do better in the next days.

croocked daria in botsawana

croocked daria in botsawana

pirelli 4: daria subcalendar or allegory vs. symbolism

art of modeling

art of modeling

so, let’s finish my pirelli review. make sure you read the earlier 3 posts about it (see sidebar on the right) and be ready for the conclusion of my argument. which basically is: there’s a little subcalendar in the 2009 cal made by a few pictures of daria where in my opinion the conjunction of ecologism and erotism is successful. it’s not fontana calendar, it’s not de paula calendar, it’s not boscono calendar and so on. it’s daria and her allegoric body which overcomes the poor plain bland symbolism of the cal. that’s the pearl in the desert i have been talking about since the cal was available on line.

most of daria subcalendar consists of the series of the pics in the pond, where she’s finally alone, with no fontana around to contaminate the purity of her modeling. her effortless nudity is what we could call a pure ecological erotism. put together the fact that she never looks at the camera with a heterosexist gaze that beard must have understood is out of her skills, the fact that she never shows off her beauty, the subsequent fact that when she does nudity that is not autorefential, but a mean for a wider purpose. add her dramatic gender conflict between the feminine features (breast, hair, legs, and then melancholy, softness, modeling docility) and the masculine ones (edgy face, nervous muscles, narrow hips, and then boysh gesture, fierceness, a sort of modeling ascetism as a mark of her talent to get the essential in posing). you’ll get what we can call ecological in a sense of daria’s allegoric representation through her body of a beautiful nature in pain. unlike her colleagues daria is not a beautiful woman posing in a natural context, but she is a part of such a natural context, which is beautiful, confictual, dramatic, even painful as much as her body is. that’s the difference and that’s the secret of daria’s genius in modeling: daria is allegoric. if you allow me to intelletualise things a bit, she’s allegoric in the meaning of walter benjamin’s modern allegory: she represents an unsolvable conflict. that’s why, in karl lagerfeld’s words, she’s the face of today.

there are other pieces of daria cal i would save, like the pic with the dead bird, despite all its limits i talked about below. the tree picture with all the models on the branchs is suggestive. so is the march with the elephants. but i must say that whenever i watch the corresponding pieces of the backstage videos i find performance so superior to the final result that i can’t help regretting how much more beautiful the cal would have been if it was a bit more substantially daring. or maybe if it was shot by a different photographer with a less elementary symbolism in his mind (for instance i find fontana screaming ‘help’ close to daria under elephant very flat in the may extra 3). or maybe simply if it featured only daria in all 12 months. look at the pictures above. they are taken from the backstage videos available at menstyle.it with a few new images that weren’t in the official pirelli video. look at how much they epitomise what i meant with ecological erotism, at least in my view! so again, not all nudities look alike… too bad majority doesn’t catch it…

pirelli 3: daria’s subcalendar

while chanel mystery was resolved at tfs – that looks like a ss04 haute couture picture – and there’s some excitement around about february issue of vogue paris fully devoted to a girl adored by roitfeld, it’s time to analyse pirelli daria werbowy. 
pirelli february extra 3 (published anywere)

pirelli february extra 3 (published anywere)

i think later this month in the final balance of 2008 the main issue will be definitely nudity. it’s undoubtful that this year daria has done more nudity than in the past, being her initial peak in love and her final peak the cal. i’m totally okay with that, but certainly next year will tell us if there’s been some strategy in it or it’s been a mere call by economically appealing contracts. okay, i don’t want to talk about nudity now, otherwise this becomes a different post from the one i intend to write: a review to daria pictures in the pirelli 2009 calendar.

today i went through the whole calendar again. again i find some pics good and very good while some (especially in the second part of the calendar) look really so so, not to say poor. for instance the pics that show de paula in that sort of night rite with native look pointlessly violent to me. and what about her and lara stone lying oiled up in the same bath-tub? at the same time, again, what ultimaltely i may like of this calendar is this trip atmosphere. like it tells the story of a western dark mental trip to africa. i may like that, even if i can’t help asking myself – and i really don’t know how pertinent this question is -, i can’t help asking myself what this trip would have looked like if it was photographed by bruce weber instead of peter beard. i like some of the collages, they have this pop art aura. too bad some (most) of the models are so unexpressive and some are even too expressive in some shots. and ultimately there’s a sense of death i may appreciate too. like, yes, explicit message is: beauty will save the world (or how to make a quotation trivial btw), but inner content is: beauty and  the world will die together.

pirelli-trip-11

a western mental trip to africa

 daria. who can better fit a so dark content than daria? as i said in my previous posts she looks so effortless nude, never showing off her beauty, and that makes her particularly suitable for a calendar that, may it be successful or not, aims to link beauty and nature. too bad i can’t post the picture. i really recommend to visit the pirelli site, so you can enjoy the perfection of her modeling in some of the shots. unfortunately n0t all of them are at the same level. imo, may extra 2 (detail 5/2 in the pic above) and may extra 3 (5/3) are more than dubious, let’s say cheesy. more than the orgasmatic poses i find styling very trashy. it’s in those pics that the ‘shana queen of the jungle’ explodes. despite backstage video images of 5/2 being simply breaktaking as you can see in the oxymoric eros page. not because she’s topless – i’m not that elementary and average -, but because imo that’s pure dramatic nudity, pure oxymoric eros that makes a perfect conjuncton of intellectual and sexual. no matter if she was aware of it or not: her body tells a story. and it’s a story of conflicts and subtle tensions. when you see her breast oscillating in her posing movements, there’s no heterosexist allure. there’s something deeply emotional, even hurting in her repeated cyclic movement. she looks concentrated and distant at the same time. too bad pic couldn’t catch that basic physicity.

i also love june and july pictures (6/1, 7/1, 7/2). they’re so different from typical calendars pictures. we are at the highest level of the cal. that’s because we are totally in daria’s calendar here. no fontana’s calendar or de paula’s calendar. no heterosexism. here it’s daria and her accomplices. and everything is reduced to pure elements. i prefer her marching with the elephant to her hugging the same elephant. there’s something more subtle and respectful. elephants’ symbolism is more convincing, their sense of lasting and surviving. and there’s something humble in daria’s beautiful body close to them. posing with the dead beard must have been though. it must have smelled. that was really a performance. too bad she wears that white glove. i wonder why they kept it. certainly the efficacy of the pic gets low. maybe the simply wanted to show artifice. that’s a bit contradictory: in some pics natives are removed and (ridicolous) hair extensions are added to increase fiction of wildness, then in other you see artfices of shooting.  the tension of her body is interesting though. i may guess symbolic reasons, but boscono and bela wearing high heels don’t satisfy me at all. i prefer almost naked daria with bare dirty feet. and boscono looks so overacting. and malgosia wears that unrelevant jungle lingerie… there’s a so big gap between them and daria, maybe it part of the symbolic message.

to be finished later

pirelli 2: a wasting of daring potential

so, time for the 2nd round of my pirelli review. make sure your read the first part below.

bird-giving

bird carcass is delivered

these days i have been reading a few comments about the cal. there was obviously a huge amount of articles about it in blogs and sites, but most of them just limit themselves to report the official statements from the presentation in berlin. only few have personal comments. i must say the drooling ones are less than i was expecting. in general acritical admirers are among those just repeating official words. maybe strict copyright also prevented the usual sexist spread of masturbatory fantasies (see W editorial by bruce weber). i’m sure that many bloggers didn’t even see the rest of the calendar. the same i wonder about detractors.
it’s interesting that some detractors have gender reasons, while others just miss the most direct erotic message of the 60s and the 70s. on one side i must say that, justifying or not the existence of erotic nudity, comparing pirelli to its derivide imitators spread over the world, it seems to me that it stays as the only calendar that still sticks to erotism more to soft porn. you may find the 2009 issue a failure or a succes, but it’s out of doubts that at least there’s the will to tell a story though the images. there’s a narrative plot that keeps the 2009 cal out of soft porn. that leads to the 2nd point, why ppl complain pics aren’t hot enough or – in different words – they don’t turn watchers on enough. the fragile bilancement between beauty and nature keeps the cal in a sort of nowhere: girls’ beauty is not ‘optimized’ enough, ecological message is not ‘optimized’ either.
other detractors complain about the extremisation of modeling. like models were humiliated. i really think it’s the opposit and not because i’m a sadist! from the backstage vid you get the feeling of a deep modeling performance, a sort of body art performance that unfortunately got mostly lost in the final result. there was a sort of *dirty* modeling compared to fashion asteptic sets that was really great to watch at. like models were playing not the humiliation of themselves as women, but the humiliation of their role as models, the humiliation by nature of the body business that makes their job. like topless daria holding that smelling carcass in front of her was playing the humiliation of her role as a model that has to pose nude to show the power of her agency in ‘the power house’ issue. you may say, she was paid in both cases, she’s always paid to get off her clothing, but the issue is not nudity, it’s how nudity is used.
unfortunately the sense of modeling performance you get from the backstage vid gets lost in most of the final pictures. i think that keeping models’ tears, faces, physical sufference would have been the right solution for a cal that dared to express a dramatic ecological message through erotism. and much more nudity: real dramatic nudity. instead, most of time we have a rather stereotyped imaginary, with naked women fighting in the mud, hugging elephants with orgasmatic expressions, running and screaming, wearing exotic ethnic clothes… unfortunately a lot of trash exotism overcomes ecologism. still, compared to other stuff around, it’s certainly higher level, but… what a lost opportunity!
in this wasting of potential i’d save… guess what and who? i’d save our beloved daria. she can’t fully escape trash either as we’ll see in the next post, but certainly her pics in the pond, her painful fierceness with the dead bird, her piece of living sculpture in the tree picture are moving. as i said last week: a pearl in the desert. and it’s always so emotional to watch her working. so concentrate and professional when posing, with that boysh underlying attitude that prevents her from any concession to heterosexism. there’s something zen in her effortless erotism.

from shooting to calendar

from shooting to the calendar

btw, some were also complaining about the removal of natives from pictures. like it was something racist. i don’t think it is actually, i see more as a restiction of fiction. as i said, to me the problem is different. the problem is the removal of models’ performance.

pirelli 1: introduction on daria + the things i don’t like

so since it was presented in berlin last week, i’m just starting to have a clearer point of view on the pirelli calendar shot by peter beards in botsawana, africa. i’m partially experiencing again what i did when in love was published: i just need time to organise rationally my reactions. with an essential difference: this time no pointless men around! great! okay, you may say that men are the target of the calendar, but who cares?! what i *care* about is that daria looks much more convincing and happy hugging isabeli fontana than being forced to have skin contacts with that spanish unrelevant male model! yup!
daria celebrating end of shooting

daria celebrating end of shooting

i also have this idea she enjoyed walking topless in the savana and rolling into the mud and jumping in the pond and feeding the elephants and almost puking on that dead bird skull… it’s a pleisure for the eyes and the mind to see her in this adventurous backstage that seems to fit her personality so well. i usually love it when i can see her working, it’s always interesting to see how she poses and changes, but this time seeing her – namely, seeing the woman daria turning into the model daria – is… how to say it? basic. she’s just there working with her body, so it’s werbowy’s pure body art under beard’s direction. ok, more about it later. there’s a lot to say. as a preview i can just say that it leaves me speechless – and, honestly, with hormons jumping to the ceiling – how effortless nude and erotic she is, compared to the trashy attitude of a bikini gisele or to the heterosexist hints of a nimphic lima. look at the pics in the pond: she’s so pure there. there’s a purity on her body, a sort of quintessential simplicity of eros that in my most emphatic moments i would define as a gift daria gave to us when she decided to become a model. a quintessence beyond gender boundaries.

detail of a february extra

detail of a february extra

that being said as an introduction, let me say that i don’t find all pics being at the same level. all my respect to all the girls that worked so hard, but

1) i find the casting weak. in my view only super great daria, excellent malgosia bela and, despite a bit of overacting, maria carla boscono fit the purpose of the calendar. daria is daria – and we’ll talk about it later. i don’t know malgosia so much, but she looks very communicative with the setting. sometimes boscono seems too busy showing how good and intellectual she is, how much she’s doing that for the sake of art, so she has this very concentrated and serious expression that looks too forced. paradox: she looks unnatural just when she should be so natural. then the others: lara stone and rianne ten haken look really out of place. even when they run followed by elephants, they look like 2 overfeminine women waiting for some superhero coming to save them (maybe superdaria?!). it’s possible that they were chosen barely because of their glamazonic curves, but unfortunately their shot together looks rather unwillingly hilarious. like, really, jane & jane lost in the jungle waiting for tarzan (tarzandarilla :-p). isabeli fontana. seeing the backstage vid it seems to me that beard kind of developed a crush on her and in fact most of the pictures featuring isabeli are those where emphasis on model’s beauty overcomes ecological concern, which is negative for the overall result of a calendar aimed at being so special. and those 2 unknown ones to me – emanuela de paula and ?? – look rather anonymous. they seem to have a commercial attitude and don’t give personality to the images. (btw, i don’t understand why everywhere you read that the cal features 7 models, when they are actually 8).

2) i find make-up and styling very arguable. yes, that’s another of the weak features of the project in my opinion: dressing the girls with those ethnic outfits and using that heavy make-up looks like a more than strong concession to (trashy) exotism. it gives the calendar a ‘shana queen of the jungle’ effect (especially on daria, as we will see) that deeply contradicts the supposedly noble purpose of an echological kind of erotism. so detractors may have good reasons to say that ecologism is only a new facade for a deja-vu heterosexist affair. that also explains why, still in my opinion, the best pictures are those where models are nude, just posing topless and working with their bodies. i will talk more about it in my next post, but i really think this calendar would have been perfect with total nudity (and featuring nobody but daria… ).

e) i find the balance between calendar rules and ecological message rather fragile. that’s actually the underlying reason behind points #1 and #2. it looks like this year’s cal was looking for a very difficult and subtle balance between the usual female bodies portrayed in more or less artistic nude – the degree of art depending on the photographer – and this peculiar ecological message about which beards seems sincerely concerned. i don’t know if we can say the same about pirelli. i happened to read an italian article about what pirelli really does for environnement in its factories and its reputation isn’t that clean actually… anyways, i wonder if there’s some hidden sense of guilty in searching such a balance or just a search for a political correctness that may redeem the heterosexism of a calendar. i have been making a lot of reflections on nudity recently, starting from the undeniable fact that i like representations of nudity, both women and men’s. what i don’t like is heterosexism and lack of respect to female body, when nude is just tits and asses spread on a photography to turn on men. paradoxically, apart from a few exceptions and with no need for forced correctness, pirelli seems to be one of the few calendars still developing an interest in erotism. so, how to conciliate erotism and nature without falling into stereotypes? unfortunately, instead of opening a new route to ecological erotism, most of pictures of the calendar seem unable to escape from the stereotypes of wildness and exotism that are so much at hand. what’s new in the perception of an oiled up black naked model lying on an elephant? or of a nocturne isabeli wearing leather lingerie with visible boobs close to an elephant? or of even shana-daria miming a sort of orgasm with an elephant? i would say only the elephant is new, a bit too little.

let me shortly say that another thing i didn’t like very much was that the calendar was presented just when more than 200 pirelli workes are about to be fired in spain. one of the slogans of their protest was ‘less tits, more jobs’. i’m sad for 2 reasons: 1, because i think that the company could show a bit more of social sensitiveness (but we are in the times of wild capitalism, what a great time! look at the consequences…); 2, because, despite my solidariety to workers, as usual female body is used as a scapegoat. how much i’d like to meet daria and ask her: what do you think about it? is it only business? is it only a few pictures?

next post will be devoted to photoshopping removal of natives and to the things i like. then a 3rd to review daria. maybe, who knows?, i could post on how much everything looks so fictional when on the other window of my browser i go through the pics ot the terroristic attack in india.

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