This morning in New York City, fashion photographer Mario Sorrenti unveiled the 2012 Pirelli calendar — the limited-edition corporate gift for top clients, published annually by the tire brand, that just happens to double as one of modeling's most prestigious gigs. The Pirelli calendar is to the girlie calendar in the employee bathroom of your local auto shop as the New York Review is to Reader's Digest.

Left: Italian model/actress Margaret Madè. Right: Kate Moss.

The new calendar, shot in Corsica this past June, features Kate Moss, Lara Stone, Milla Jovovich, Malgosia Bela, Isabeli Fontana, Natasha Poly, Saskia de Brauw (above), Joan Smalls, Edita Vilkeviciute, Rinko Kikuchi, and the Italian model/actress Margareth Madè. All feature in the very long behind-the-scenes video a room full of print and online reporters, bloggers, photographers, newspaper writers, and camera operators were treated to this morning (highlights included footage of Vilkeviciute shivering in a rocky pool, Jovovich explaining that Sorrenti "is pretty much the only person I would take my clothes of for," and a montage set to a rather extraordinary Edith Piaf dance remix). Sorrenti, whom the curator Charlotte Cotton this morning called "one of the handful of image-makers who visually define this era," is shown photographing Moss, whom he dated in the early 90s. "We were boyfriend/girlfriend for a few years," explains the supermodel. The shoot took place three weeks before her wedding to Jamie Hince.

Russian model Natasha Poly. (Did you know her real last name is Polevshchikova?)

If Sorrenti's calendar — a very lovely series of portraits of some very lovely looking naked women, inspired, he says, by Edward Weston — is a little less high-concept than Karl Lagerfeld's Greek and Roman mythology-inspired effort of last year (which also boasted a few naked men), it's also easier on the eyes than Terry Richardson's bizarro Brazilian vacation (2010) and Peter Beard's African safari (2009), which was memorable mainly for the shot of a crying Isabeli Fontana posing with a giant insect on her face.

Lithuanian Edita Vilkeviciute.

The models range in age (at least slightly: Vilkeviciute at 22 is the youngest, and Moss, at 37, the eldest; Jovovich is 35, and Bela is 34) and some are actors, but the Pirelli calendar would be even lovelier if it presented a more diverse and varied conception of female beauty. It seems like everyone in fashion always loves to photograph plus-size models in the nude — until a really prestigious job is at stake, in which case it's back to the coltish, sample-size runway stars.

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