There's a reason why fashion catwalks are called runways. And couture doesn't get more advanced than flying glamour pusses and ear-popping averse air stewards looking swaggy despite the altitude.
Ellen Church, a trained nurse became the first ever air stewardess in 1930 after 13 stops on a 20 hour flight. The idea of nurses on board to look-out for flyers caught on and they were soon known as 'sky girls' (*ahem* although they are great and marvellous my anti-feminist alarm does kick in here when you find out they also had to be under 25 and 115 pounds. Hmm.)
Not sure what it says about me that I'm infatuated with scrolling through global get ups on for women to serve whiskys in at 40,000 feet but I really am and would def recommend Uniform Freak. Decided my fave is the colourful leopard print of Kenya Airwaves. Green leopard print shirt with high waisted red skirt and a panama hat? Erm hi babe!!
Trolley pushers of Easy Jet and Air Lingus today might do their best to shove us all in and make us pay for a wee while they wrap their barnets round a cheap Superdrug donut, but glamour amongst the clouds still lives - as Vivienne Westwood hooking up with Richy B and Virgin Atlantic proves.
So what are Viv's gonna be like? Punky tartan numbers circa Gwen 2009? Gothy a la Helen Bonam Carter? Or full of safety pins like how she made a name for herself in the 70's? Not quite. Unfortch they do have to be on the super commercial side to serve fizzy wines to all sorts in premium economy. I'm generally fine with wearing a pair of jelly shoes that kill me for 5 hours if they go with my outfit but it's not quite the same if you're trying to lot hot while skipping down aisles in the sky for 7 hours. Viv's designing for crew who walk an average of seven miles per flight, so garments need to transcend trends, be suitable for all the climates they end up in and most of all be all about timeless glamour. They basically have to be *gulp* practical! There's a p word banned from Vogue...
This isn't the first time airline moguls have looked to couture, YSL did an amazing job creating this tea dress covered in multi-coloured kangeroo's for Quantas in the 80's (anyone know where I can get one?) Pucci had obviously overdosed on free love in the 60's when he created a 'space bubble' hat for the ladies of Braniff International airlines (or a matching psychedelic bowler hat, leggings and dress combo if they weren't in the mood for a bowl head). To this day Christian Lacroix is behind Air Frances' get-ups, although these old school ones he did are my fave (slap on the pink outfit with a pair of airmax's and some sparkly socks anyone?!).
Westwood's penchant for saving the world one handbag at a time means uniforms are made of recycled materials - including yarn that originated from plastic bottles, that have just enough stretch to hug a great bum in a professional way. High grade unusual tailoring, sexiness without too much flesh and just-the-right-side-of-gaudy gold accents that scream Viv means our first look at uniforms currently getting tested is a great one. Prep school inspired burgundy blazers and grey waist coasts for the lads say English gent rather than The Village People (a look you sometimes ponder Stelios our-mate-we-can't-seem-to-get-rid-of-from-