The Pirelli calendar has long been known for its provocative images of some of the world’s top models.

But for its 2016 edition, it has taken a new direction – swapping sex for power with a series of black and white portraits of high-profile professional women taken by Annie Leibovitz.

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PirelliPattieSmith Artist Yoko Ono, musician Patti Smith, author Fran Lebowitz, blogger Tavi Gevinson and model and philanthropist Natalia Vodianova are featured in the calendar – which is being hailed as a “bold step” that proves women are being “celebrated for their achievements” and not just their looks.

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Nudity is kept to a minimum, with only tennis star Serena Williams and comedian Amy Schumer appearing in underwear.

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Leibovitz, one of only a handful of women photographers to work on the calendar in its 51 years, said:

It is a departure. I started to think about the roles women play, women who have achieved something. I thought the women should look strong but natural.”

Jennifer Zimmerman, the global chief strategy officer for the McGarryBowen advertising agency, explained

We are in the midst of a perfect storm of cultural icons and politics and Hollywood. Between the first credible woman presidential candidate, all the powerful female characters on television from ‘Supergirl’ to ‘Madam Secretary’ to ‘Scandal,’ the pressure for parity in pay, it is impossible to ignore the empowerment of women. Besides, who uses a calendar anymore? It has to stand for something else.”

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