Everyone loves an Officer’s uniform, but what about Airline uniforms. Below: Our own Canadian Navy celebrated 100 years in May 2010 Victoria BC. All these men looked handsome – believe me – and there were hundreds of them! The women looked very smart as well.
As a couturier, the things that strike me (in order) about any outfit is the silhouette, the coloring, how it compliments the wearer – because you can see that from a distance, and then more closely how the outfit is coordinated and accessorized zeroing right on into the design detailing and quality of workmanship . However, the overall quality of workmanship already stands out seen from a distance.
On a recent trip flying Air Canada, I was once again impressed with the navy blue uniforms pilots and stewards (attendants?) don. It is immediately obvious that a great deal of attention was given to the design, function and styling of the uniforms, and that they are very well made. I doubt that they are couture made, or even custom made, rather ‘made-to-measure’ by the official supplier.
Sometimes the design of a corporate uniform is put out to competition for up-and-coming designers, however, the more important to a corporation’s image (or branding) the uniform is the greater the resources put into their design and production. As uniforms go, they must be of high quality otherwise they fall apart very quickly with the constant wear and cleaning resulting in cost inefficiencies, and if the employee has purchased the uniform – quite a lot of grumbling. Uniforms absolutely must be without superfluous material, comfortable as well as highly functional.
For airline stewards or attendants, the uniforms firstly must make them look great plus command authority, be easily identifiable, do not wrinkle easily, fabrics cannot burn easily (inherently flame resistant), must have interchangeable coordinating pieces, provide for a wide spectrum of climates and serve the purpose of the attendants job requirements.
In my mind that is what couturiers do for their clients all the time. Playfulness and frivolity of design is usually reserved for weddings, parties and the runway (ahem – the fashion runway).
It is not unusual for high profile designers (and couturiers) to create or promote corporate uniforms. Canadian superstar Celine Dion modelled new uniforms for Air Canada, Christian Lacroix designed for Air France, Givenchy star Julien Macdonald designed for British Airways, Korean Air launched new outfits by Italian designer Gianfranco Ferre.
Below are captured images of airline uniforms – we have all witnessed really bad uniforms but these from American Airlines were… well – really, what were they thinking?
And some well designed uniforms. Air Canada is celebrating its 75th year with vintage uniforms, planes — and a union protest on March 2nd as it happened…