Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls welcome to the third annual ‘Style in the Aisles’ Top Ten Cabin Crew Uniforms, our look at the best uniforms gracing our skies in 2016.It’s been an exciting time for flight attendant fashion, as airlines really up the stakes in glamour, style and sophistication. Some have again turned to top designers such as Ettore Bilotta for Alitalia and Zac Posen for Delta, while other airlines such as Thomson and Vueling have utilised their own cabin crews eye for fashion in their design process.
Unveiled on May 18, 2016 at a catwalk event held at the Nazionale Spazio Eventi in Rome, the ‘Alitalia Collection’ has been designed and tailor-made by a team of nearly 500 people from across Italy. Fabrics have been made in Tuscany, silk in Como, leather accessories such as gloves from Naples, shoes from the Marche region and men’s uniforms tailored in Puglia. The collection embraces all aspects of Italian style, culture and design and takes inspiration from the golden days of Italian fashion in the 1950’s and 60’s. It also celebrates the people of Alitalia, their professionalism, style and passion for the airline.
Bilotta drew on the landscapes of Italy, focusing on the terraces of Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera for the girl’s hat. Female crew receive three uniform options – a one piece dress, a two piece jacket and skirt and a trouser option. Burgundy tones, slowly changing to a lighter red are achieved by using a chevron print design. This is echoed in the male uniform, with dark charcoal grey and wood green in the fitted suit and double-breasted waistcoat. A red tie compliments the female scarves and stylish wool crépe overcoats in green for boys and burgundy for the girls are also provided. A blend of 96% fine Italian Wool and 4% Elastane has been used for enhanced comfort and functionality.
Ettore Bilotta said “Being given the opportunity to design the new uniforms for this much-loved Italian symbol was very exciting and gave me the opportunity to create a special collection which symbolises Italy and our pride in Alitalia as its ambassador to the world. Alitalia is one of the most recognised airline brands in the world and I had to deliver something truly special. Working closely with Alitalia on every aspect of the design process was crucial. This ensured the whole project was created, managed and completed in Italy by Italians and to showcase the arts culture, people, design and landscapes of this great country”.
The new uniforms took to the skies on June 8, 2016. Speaking of the launch Aubrey Tiedt said “This is an enormously exciting and significant day for our cabin crew and our customers will love the distinctly Italian look of our new uniform. The global aviation industry’s norm is to take six months from public unveiling to actually being a reality for our staff so i’m incredibly proud that we’ve got it down to less than a month because it shows our desire to be the best airline in Europe and one that puts its customers first”.
Vueling cabin crew played a major role in designing their new uniforms, which were rolled out across the carrier’s network in summer 2015. More than 75% of the airlines staff got involved submitting hundreds of sketches, made various design suggestions, expressed their individual style opinions, responded to surveys and worked alongside professionals to create the final designs.
Eleven years after Vueling’s launch, the bright new uniforms which took a year to complete, were designed to project a more modern image, emphasising the values of professionalism, experience, friendliness and elegance.
Changes include differentiating cabin crew roles, with grey scarves or neck ties worn by purser’s in contrast to the yellow worn by other crew. Gloves for the performance of all in-flight services, chevrons on the sleeves of male staff, a choice of one piece dresses or blouses with skirts or trousers for females and a fabulous newly designed contemporary overcoat.
Smart, sophisticated, classy and glamorous, the uniform worn by the airlines 2000+ crew is a credit to those who helped design it.
Check out the behind the scenes video of the design process in the video below
When the exciting ’boutique’ carrier Porter Airlines launched in 2006 it was one of the first airlines to re-introduce the pill-box hat and stylish shift dress; a deliberate 1960’s throw back to a time when flying was much more glamorous.
Bringing her creative flair and design expertise, the uniforms were created by Kimberely Newport Mimran of Canadian label Pink Tartan, which she founded in 2002. “The opportunity to design a complete look for the launch of a new and unique airline is very exciting” Kimberley said at the time “I have a vision of air travel as a glamorous experience, in which flight attendants make a real style statement and are a true expression of the Porter brand image”.
Porter’s President and CEO Robert Deluce said at the time “We are striving to create a unique and memorable passenger journey…..Pink Tartan is the perfect fit for us. The style, sophistication and elegance for which Kimberley and Pink Tartan are renowned will bring a fresh look to the airline’s terminal and in-flight experience”.
Full of clean lines and feminine appeal, the uniform comprises of a full assortment of apparel including classic trench coats, vibrant neck scarves and of course the shift dress and pill-box hat.
In 2014 the carrier updated its neck scarves with a stylish new design, but the rest of the uniform remained unchanged. It may be 10 years old but as the saying goes ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.
Porter crew must stir up some serious fashion envy at the airport.
To coincide with the arrival of their state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A350′ aircraft, Vietnam Airlines updated its cabin crew uniform for the first time in 15 years, in March 2015.
Known for their iconic ‘Ao dai’ dress, the new uniform retains the traditional Vietnamese Ao dai worn since 1998, but with a modern update and new colours, intended to keep the good impression of passengers and to give its brand recognition a facelift.
Created by Kubo Design and designer Minh Hanh, uniforms for male flight attendants and pilots use the lotus flower image of Vietnam Airlines logo and the word ‘VAN’ symbolising peace and good luck. White shirts are retained but with changes to the colours of ties and patterns on hats. Patterns on the female uniforms are of a stylised lotus flower motif representing vitality and purity. Crew working business class will don a yell Ao dai, while those in economy will wear a blue version.
Interestingly all parts of the uniform are ‘Made in Vietnam’ a sustainable development strategy based on the internal resources of the country.
The uniform was put on trial in August 2015 on flights between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and between Vietnam and the UK, France, Germany, Japan, Korea and Australia to test the safety, convenience and suitability of the uniform in real conditions.
In September 2015 Ryanair unveiled their stylish new uniform, which were rolled out across all flights in December the same year.
Created by 25-year-old Irish designer Emma Collopy, the new ensemble features a darker shade of blue, new ‘golden yellow’ detailing in the scarves, pocket trims and vent of the female skirt, which can be seen as the women walk. The classic meets contemporary look also includes new neck scarves, PVC belts and an eye-catching yellow mac for female staff which is bright enough for the crew to do away with their hi-viz jackets. “It’s probably my favourite piece because it’s so identifiable” said Collopy.
Describing the designs as “Really feminine silhouettes, simple shapes created using high quality tailoring” she went on to say “The uniforms needed to be modernised, a bit sharper and more tailored”, something I think you’ll agree she has certainly achieved.
Collopy, who had only graduated from Griffith College Dublin in 2014, submitted hundreds of designs which were then whittled down to a shortlist of three, with cabin crew voting for the final design.
In true Ryanair style, Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Jacobs said “We didn’t go to Milan or Paris to find the person to design the new uniforms – we got a designer in Dublin. The staff love the new design. They were involved in choosing the colour and fabric for the new uniforms and the love them”.
Check out the behind the scenes video below which includes an interview with Emma Collopy
A name that will soon be consigned to the history books following the take over by Alaska Airlines in April 2016, it seemed fitting that we included the fabulous Virgin America and their fabulous uniform.
To mark its fifth anniversary the carrier unveiled its runway-worthy Banana Republic designed outfits on August 8, 2012. The concept for Virgin America cabin crew, or ‘teammates’ look from uniform to hair and makeup is ‘effortless travel chic’.
The collection feature a fresh, modern look with aviation details and a palette inspired by the airline’s own inventive service style and signature cabin design. The 18 month process designing the uniform once again saw much input from the airlines cabin crew involving design brainstorming, informative focus groups and fit sessions. The partnership also consisted of a unique internal ‘Design Challenge’ in which Banana Republic designers competed for the coveted opportunity to create the uniform design.
“In creating the uniform designs for Virgin America, we wanted to respect the heritage of in–flight uniform design while injecting a modern twist that’s both functional and fashionable”, remarked Banana Republic Creative Director and Executive Vice President, Simon Kneen. “We referenced the time when onboard style and sophistication was of utmost importance and designed a modern interpretation that incorporates aviation details and celebrates Virgin America’s signature style”.
“The new uniforms were designed to be modern and sleek in keeping with the Virgin America brand and cabin design, but also needed to accommodate the unique work needs of teammates – such as the use of performance fabric for long travel days, stretch and extra room factored in to meet the demands of the airport and aircraft environment, and the creation of a variety of pieces for weather conditions all over the country”, said Frances Fiorillo, Senior Vice President for People and In–Flight Services at Virgin America. “Banana Republic worked directly with our teammates to rise to this challenge and create uniforms that are ultra chic, durable and comfortable. It was a very tall order, and if the reaction of our teammates is any measure: they more than over–delivered”.
For men, the nine styles include leather jackets, lined mac coats, striped sleeve sweaters, woven shirts and pants. For women, thirteen styles include a classic pencil skirt, slim dress, trousers, leather jacket and trench to start, paired with luxe silk print scarves, slim plaque belts and Virgin America–branded serving aprons for in–flight meal service. All looks include classic aviation touches, such as shoulder tabs and button chest pockets.
“Since the golden age of jet–setting in the 1960s, in–flight fashion has often been elusive in the U.S., but we hope to bring a little of it back to the skies with these new designs”, said Luanne Calvert, vice president of marketing at Virgin America. “Even as a young airline just celebrating its fifth year in operations, continued investment in our design and overall guest experience is a priority for us. These new uniforms really represent the next stage of evolution of in–flight fashion, incredibly practical and designed for the modern work world – but with a nod back to the stylish golden age of air travel”.
One of the most popular female pieces was a red dress, included to show support for the America Heart Association. So popular was the dress that is was made a permanent uniform option in 2013. Virgin America teammates have also participated in the AHA Heart Walk every year since 2009 and have raised nearly $70,000 for the organisation to support awareness, research, education and community programs to benefit women.
When Thomson Airways received their first state-of-the-art Boeing 787 ‘Dreamliner’ aircraft in summer 2013, the airline also unveiled a stylish new cabin crew uniform. Designed by UK uniform specialist ‘Incorporatewear’, the new ensemble was officially launched to coincide with the inaugural 787 flight from Manchester to Cancun on July 8, 2013.
Incorporatewears Operations Manager Daren Turner said “Not only does the collection look great, it also gives outstanding performance. Our fabrics for the new range are highly advanced and tested specifically for corporate use in the most demanding of conditions: nano technology finishes in the uniform repeal liquids and provide better crease resistance”.
Carl Gissing, Customer Service Director at Thomson Airways commented “We know that our staff are our greatest asset and the appearance of our cabin crew is vital for our customers to enjoy a flying start and memorable finish to their holiday experience. We have listened to feedback and our cabin crew can now feel proud to wear a stylish new uniform, befitting of the excellent service they provide. As the first UK airline to fly the 787 Dreamliner our new crew uniform aims to be a strong representation of our brand and replicate the unique experience our customers will enjoy onboard”.
Potentially one of the most colourful around today, Bangkok Airways uniform was designed by fashion label ASAVA. Featuring bright shades of blue, which also happen to be the airlines corporate colours, the designer who created the outfit said the different shades of blue represent blue waves and the sky. As a result the outfit feels fresh, bright and carefree, a good feeling to evoke when flying.
ASAVA designer Polpat Asavaprapha explained “Before designing the uniforms, I needed to find what the identities of Bangkok Airways are. I created a stripe pattern with shades of blue and turquoise. Silk-poly fabric has been chosen to give a feeling of lightness and comfort to the person wearing it. Uniform for men, in grey and blue with painted cobalt stripes on the shirt emphasises luxury, smart and informal look. For females I designed a dress in pattern of skirt and trousers mixture which offers an outstanding look and informality and flexibility”.
Women wear round neck blouses with three-quarter length sleeves, silk hair scarves and tailored pencil skirts. Meanwhile male crew don crisp striped shirts with contemporary slim fit trousers, all uber professional looking while being incredibly comfortable for the crew to wear.
On April 1, 2015 Aegean Airlines cabin crew showed off their stylish brand new Sophia Kokosalaki designed uniforms for the first time.
The design of the new uniforms combine the Greek element, promoted by Aegean and the fashion designer’s love for Greece, which is her point of reference in all her creations. In addition, as Sophia Kokosalaki has stated, her work is guided by the principles of ancient Greek classicism: the search for balance, and economy of line, simplicity and timelessness. Kokosalaki used these same principles not only for the dress she designed for Aegean’s flight attendants but also for the uniforms of pilots and Airport Ground Handling personnel. The collections pieces and accessories are practical, allowing easy movement while working, while being stylish and elegant.
Born in Greece and now located in London, Kokosalaki said “The image of Aegean is one of a dynamic, modern, Greek airline and I tried to reflect and convey that in my designs. I admire Aegean for the ethos that runs through all their activities and their trajectory and growth they have achieved over the years. The uniform is functional and elegant with a hint of Grecian classicism. Modernity, realism and quality were of major importance. I tried to retain my designer identity as well as Aegean’s corporate identity. It is difficult to design clothes for many different people in different roles and achieve a beautiful effect that will please everyone. It was a great responsibility, because first impressions are important. I would like people to see Greece also as a modern, cultural and sophisticated society”.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines blue livery and blue flight attendant uniform has little changed over the carriers near 100 year history and is instantly recognisable around the world.
In 2009 renowned Dutch designer Mart Visser was hired for the daunting task to redesign the female uniform. The previous outfit hailed from the fashion house of Nina Ricci and had flown the skies for almost 20 years. The old uniform continues to fly today, after being recycled and used for things like carpets onboard KLM aircraft.
Visser designed a capsule wardrobe of 11 items, including jacket, trousers, two styles of skirt (A-line or pencil), a white blouse, a shawl which can be worn nine different ways and a scarf. The new outfit uses his fondness for accentuating the body and has ‘a bit of sexiness thrown in’.
Visser went on to say that the finished products are nothing to do with fashion, rather they are corporate attire. “I see corporate uniforms as a company’s statement to the outside world. The wearer should feel comfortable in my creation, further strengthening the KLM image”, Visser says, “It is much harder to design corporate clothes than couture”.
The uniforms had to be comfortable and fit sizes 32 to 52, as well as being suitable for all seasons. Extensive wearability and comfort trials were carried out with crew feedback paramount to the final designs. Although he was largely given a free rein, there were some stipulations and one of these was that Visser used the same KLM trademark blue material.
The new designs took to the air for the first time on March 29, 2010 and since then, the classy and sophisticated royal blue outfit has been making an impression everywhere it goes.
Also check out our KLM ‘Journeys of Inspiration’ picture gallery, celebrating the iconic carriers near 100 year history!
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