2014 was a momentous year for Abu Dhabi based Etihad Airways. The airline welcomed two new state-of-the-art aircraft into its fleet in the shape of the Boeing 787-9 ‘Dreamliner’; serving as the backbone of its global network and the long-awaited Airbus A380, the first of its ten strong fleet to serve as Etihad’s flagship aircraft. Both of the new jets feature the airline revolutionary new cabin interiors as well as a striking new livery, its first since the carriers formation back in 2003. The design, ‘Facets of Abu Dhabi’ uses a colour palette which reflects the varying hues of the landscape of the UAE.
But most exciting of all and to coincide with these new additions to the fleet, was the debut of the carriers stunning new uniforms.
On December 18th, 2014 Etihad Airways unveiled its brand new uniforms at a spectacular fashion show in Abu Dhabi ‘paving the way for a new age of glamorous and sophisticated flying’. The event held in Hanger 6 at the airlines Abu Dhabi home base, was packed with the airlines staff and journalists from around the globe.
Designed by Italian Haute Couturier Ettore Bilotta at his atelier in Milan, the new uniform represents timeless sophistication, glamour and elegance. Bilotta has realised the aspiration to re-imagine flying by creating a stylish new look for the airlines cabin and ground crew, capturing the understated style and innovation of Etihad Airways and the emergence of Abu Dhabi as a centre of arts and culture.
Bilotta had designed Etihad’s previous uniform when the airline was created back in 2003. The uber-smart and stylish grey uniform, with white looped veils on round hats has featured in numerous ‘Top 10 Uniform’ lists over the years (although it didn’t quite make my 2014 list HERE) but it is fair to say that the previous ensemble was starting to look somewhat dated.
Speaking of the new design Bilotta said “Since the launch of Etihad in 2003 I have to come to know the airline, its teams and management, very intimately, and have developed a style which has evolved as the airline has grown. For me it has essentially been about dressing a brand and an ethos”.
So what about the new uniform?
All of the pieces are made from 100 per cent Italian wool, put together in various locations across Italy, with some additional manufacturing in Shanghai, Tunis and Bucharist. The uniform creation was overseen by a dedicated team of 400 staff and approximately 30% of each individual outfit, for both the male and female staff, is handmade or hand stitched.
Designer Bilotta worked off the carriers new brand palette, ‘Facets of Abu Dhabi’ and chose warm chocolate-brown as the unifying base, highlighted with a deep purple for cabin crew. Bilotta also took the unusual step of breaking up the main primary shades by introducing all the secondary colours as accents on blouses and accessories.
For the female crew, ground staff and lounge teams a smart chocolate-brown skirt suit is the main piece of the new ensemble. This is accessorised with fitted long brown diamond texture leather gloves, a belt, slim-line handbag and beautiful scarf, featuring intricate geometric patterns and fretwork. A stylish new double cut-out aerodynamic and ‘retro’ hat harks back to the classic jet-set era of air travel, inspired by the iconic stars of Hollywood and the sweeping formations of the Emirati desert sand dunes. Cabin managers are distinguished from other crew members by their bright magenta hat, compared to the brown of other crew members.
For the male flight attendants a beautiful and elegantly fitted grey three-piece suit (two-piece for ground staff) is accessorised with items such as new belts, leather gloves and a golden orange necktie, which also features the intricate geometric patterns and fretwork.
All staff will receive a light-weight, versatile and foldable trench-coat which can be worn in all types of weather, ‘adding a sense of catwalk drama to all the variations of the uniform’.
Stylishly cut, and fitted, each uniform piece is easy to wear, flexible and practical, allowing cabin and ground personnel ease of movement as they carry out their duties.
Etihad has also teamed up with leading make-up artists MAC, to provide some additional glamour allowing crew to use their products at the airlines ‘Style and Image Suits’
The new uniform is a stunning, fresh and modern take on a classic look which is exactly what the airline envisaged as their quest to make ‘Flying Reimagined’ begins.
Speaking about the new uniform Aubrey Tiedt, the airlines Vice President Guest Services said “This is not just a uniform. It is a pret-a-porter concept – a future lifestyle statement and homage to the golden age of glamorous flight. It is about bringing back classic elegance, allure and richness to our men and women in a style which will become their signature look. No matter where you are in the world, you will know this is Etihad“.
The new uniform went live on the 27th December, coinciding with the airlines new flagship A380 service between Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) and London Heathrow (LHR).
At Confessions Of A Trolley Dolly we are all about #BringingBackTheGlamour to flying. With the new uniform Etihad and Ettore Bilotta have most certainly taken a step towards re-creating the jet-set era of flying. What do you think of the new uniform? Leave your comments below.
Simply click on one of the images below to enter our Etihad Photo Gallery.
For videos of Etihad’s new aircraft, new uniform shoot and brand story please click :
(With thanks to Etihad Airways Media Department for their assistance with this article.)
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