Kate Moss, Edita Vilkevicute and Milla Jovovich made last year’s Pirelli calendar memorable. This year’s calendar… meh. The iconic publication broke with tradition for the first time since its debut in 1964. Yes, the models wear clothes.

Take a memo: some traditions are meant not to be trifled with.

The exclusive publication, which is only distributed to the tire company’s best clients, has always featured world-class models photographed in exotic locations around the world by top-name fashion photographers like Karl Lagerfeld, Annie Leibovitz, Richard Avedon and Mario Testino.

A Pirelli 2013 Calendar Preview

The calendar is savored by aficionados like a vintage wine or a classic Mercedes roadster. But this year Pirelli chose a different route. It decided against a fashion photographer and went with Steve McCurry, a well-known National Geographic photojournalist.

Beautiful models? Check. Exotic location? Check. Artistically nude? Not this year.

“When I told the models there would be no nudity, some of them were disappointed,” casting director Jennifer Starr, a 17-year calendar veteran, told New York magazine. Turns out the models were chosen for their charity work, and McCurry thought nudity might “dilute the message.”

So much for the concept of “natural beauty.”

The calendar features Karlie Kloss, Summer Rayne, Isabeli Fontana, Hanaa Ben Abdesslem, Liya Kibede, Kyleigh Kuhn and a beautifully pregnant Adriana Lima.

They were photographed in exotic Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. “I tried to portray Brazil, its landscape, its economy and its culture, along with the human element,” McCurry says.

In other words, the calendar looks like National Geographic magazine; awesome, beautiful, but not Pirelli. It would have been interesting to see how McCurry handled nudity compared with the fashion-shoot poses of previous editions. But … meh.

Ironically, this calendar may be the most valuable of the lot because it does break the mold.

In hard economic times, people become more conservative and risk averse; it certainly reflects that. Or, it’s like the postage stamp with the upside down airplane. The value may be in its oddity, because, you hope, it never happens again.

Check out the photos above, a behind-the-scenes video below and click here to follow TheImproper on Twitter for the latest fashion updates.

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