FASHION AVIATION: History of flight attendant uniforms

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It is difficult, if not impossible, to remain indifferent when the crews heading to the aircraft for the next flight show up at the airport. The pilots and flight attendants of different airlines attract the eyes like a real magnet: impeccable outfit, unmistakable attitude, elegance.

Because it's March, with your will, we will easily pull the drawer with aviation memories and we will talk about fashion, about uniforms, about beauty and style tops. We start the series of articles - FASHION AVIATION - an idea taken from Bucharest Airports.


Aviation history is not just the history of aerospace engineering that describes the course of aviation from the first flying machines, those winged bicycles, to today's sophisticated aircraft with bedrooms and pools.

The history of aviation also includes fascinating pages about the evolution and mission of flight attendants. The first commercial airlines were served by mail aircraft that had only a few seats for reckless passengers.

They took care of them themselves. The crew, consisting only of pilots, was so preoccupied with arriving safely at their destination that the comfort and well-being (or badness!) Of the occasional passengers was the last concern!

Boeing (at a time when it was not only building planes, but also performing commercial flights) introduced the first crew with flight attendants

In the interwar period, Boeing (when it was not only building airplanes, but also performing commercial flights) introduced the first crew with flight attendants consisting of eight nurses whose main mission was to care for passengers who had altitude and flight problems!

This idea started in 1930, and the first stewardess in the world, only 25 years old, was Ellen Church. She was hired by United Airlines / Boeing Air Transport as a nurse on board.

A new profession in aviation, that of stewardess

It wasn't long before there was talk of a new profession in aviation, that of flight attendant. Gradually, the young flight attendants went from quasi-medical care for passengers afflicted by altitude sickness to a subtle, pleasant presence that discreetly conveys safety and comfort.

For a long time, airlines imposed strict rules on stewardesses: they were not allowed to get married, they were obliged to keep the standard of beauty measured in a few kilograms and centimeters. But also strict attire: over-the-knee skirt, tailor, white gloves, high heels.

Gradually, things became more flexible, stewards also appeared, and the job description is mainly focused on passenger safety. We have said it many times and we repeat it: the flight attendants are for safety, not for the role of bartenders.

A passionate relationship was linked between aviation and fashion.

A passionate relationship was linked between aviation and fashion. Italy was one of the first countries to collaborate with famous designers for the uniforms of national airlines.

In 1990, for example, Giorgio Armani signs Alitalia airline uniforms. In 2005, Christian Lacroix created for Air France, and the Spanish designer Adolfo Dominguez signed the clothing creations for Iberia. Elisabeth Arden had opened a beauty school for British European Airways flight attendants in 1951.

Air France uniform collection

Marketing and competition between airlines have stimulated creativity and not infrequently inflamed not only the hearts of passengers, but also the critics.

For example, Viet Jet Air surprised its passengers with a fashion show right during the flight: flight attendants presented a bikini collection to promote an exotic Hawaiian destination! Although there was a real scandal regarding the violation of aviation safety rules, the representatives of the airline declared that the safety of the passengers was not endangered at any moment.

In a top made a few years ago by Skyscanner based on the votes cast by passengers, the top positions in the European top of the most stylish airlines were occupied by: (1) Aeroflot, (2) British Airways, (3) Lufthansa, (4) Air France, (5) Finnair.

Aviation is a constant inspiration for fashion designers.

Aviation is a constant inspiration for fashion designers. The famous aviator Amelia Earhart, the rebel who broke records, inspired the Hermes 2009 collection: light, silky blouses thrown at boys and accessorized with a shy smile and a look coming from under the pilot's helmet, as an invitation to adventure.

In January 2020, the Bucharest Airports National Company organized at Băneasa Airport, together with the TAROM airline and the “Bartoc” Cultural Foundation, the celebration of 50 years since the first flight by a TAROM aircraft around the world on the route Băneasa - Karachi - New Delhi - Bangkok - Rangoon - Hong Kong - Tokyo - Nagoya - Tokyo - Wake Island - Honolulu - Los Angeles - Mexico City - Acapulco - New York - Las Palmas - Rome - Istanbul - Băneasa.

On this occasion, the representatives of Tarom company were invited to present the history of the uniforms of our national company, a fact materialized in a parade full of charm and femininity.

The entire material can be read in Airport News magazine, number 4, March 2021, signed by Cristina Giurgea.

We will continue FASHION AVIATION with the history of pilots' uniforms, an article that can be read on - Monday, March 15, 2021.

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