“Some of these models really are muses for me. There is an exchange between us. They make all my dreaming about beauty and family and sensuality concrete because the connection is so strong,” said Paolo Roversi in an interview with BJP-online in November 2017. Two years on, Roversi was invited to produce the prestigious Pirelli Calendar, and yesterday, his vision and muses were unveiled. Claire Foy, Mia Goth, Chris Lee, Indya Moore, Rosalía, Yara Shahidi, Kristen Stewart, Emma Watson and Roversi’s daughter, Stella Roversi, star in the calendar’s 47th edition, Looking for Juliet.
Roversi wanted to tap into the Juliet that “exists in every woman”, imagining the process as a would-be casting call to find the perfect heroine. The Italian photographer produced a portrait of each woman as if they were auditioning for the role, then asked them to reenact their version of the ideal character from Shakespeare’s drama. And for the first time this year, the process has been produced into a short 18-minute film that will accompany the release.
“I was looking for a pure soul, someone full of innocence that combined strength, beauty, tenderness and courage” PAOLO ROVERSI
One of the most sought-after fashion photographers in the world, Roversi is the first Italian photographer to shoot the Pirelli calendar. He forged his reputation during the mid-1980s shooting inspired catalogues for designers such as Comme des Garçons and Yohji Yamamoto in an age when creatives were given unparalleled freedom of expression. Shot this May in Verona, the calendar comprises 132 pages, including sections of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet along with photographs that capture the story’s protagonists.
“I was looking for a pure soul, someone full of innocence that combined strength, beauty, tenderness and courage,” said Roversi in a statement provided by the organisation. “I found this in the glimmer of an eye, in the gestures and words of Emma and Yara, Indya and Mia and in the smiles and tears of Kristen and Claire… in the voices and chants of Chris and Rosalía. In Stella we have the innocence. There’s a Juliet in every woman, and I will never stop looking for her.”
Marigold Warner joined the British Journal Photography in April 2018, and currently holds the position of Online Editor. She studied English Literature and History of Art at the University of Leeds, followed by an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London. Her work has been published by titles including the Telegraph Magazine, Huck, Gal-dem, Disegno, and the Architects Journal.