If you've ever seen flight attendants glide through the airport with their sassy ascots and thought them impossibly stylish, you wouldn't be wrong. But with Zac Posen designing Delta Airline's new uniforms, those chic tendencies are going up a level and crossing over to designer.
Flight attendant uniform history is peppered with designer collabs as a way to help boost the image of the airline, going as far back as the '50s. For example, Pucci made psychedelic-print, silk jumpsuit uniforms for Braniff Airlines in 1965, Air France attendants walked down airplane aisles wearing Balenciaga in '68, and Vivienne Westwood designed Virgin Atlantic's uniforms in 2014. And now Zac Posen is throwing his own hat into the ring, whipping up sketches that not only capture his brand's aesthetic, but the feel of the era we live in. Meaning, they are high-fashion and practical all at once.
Designing for attendants, gate agents, and airport runway personnel just to name a few, these new looks will debut on May 29, 2018 and outfit 60,000 employees around the globe. So if you have a ticket with the airline after that date, keep your eyes peeled for a new dose of fabulousness.
According to CNN Travel, it's been over a decade since Delta has refreshed their outfits, and for those that get how fashion works, wearing the same clothes for over 10 years is a bit of a drag. That's like still being forced to wear your low-rise jeans and "99 percent angel" shirts from the early Noughties. Please no. Posen swept to the rescue right in time.
Understanding that the people he was designing for had physical jobs, Posen actually spent some time working their jobs to get a feel for what his uniforms had to accomodate and endure.
"He actually flew routes, served peanuts, coffee, and food, worked in our small galleys, and even worked as a gate agent and scanned people in at JFK," Ekrem Dimbiloglu, director of Delta's uniform program, told CNN Travel. This gave him a first-hand perspective of the long hours, physical labor, unpredictable weather, and comfort-level that comes with working for an airline. Keeping that in mind, he was better set to create uniforms that weren't only pretty, but also were comfortable and functional.
But don't get it wrong, they still are very much pretty — the uniforms have vintage like accents, featuring high neck dresses, cape coats, three piece suits, peplum sweaters, and wiggle-dress silhouettes.
Also, in an effort to make sure that they are durable and are built to last, Posen has teamed up with Land's End who will manufacture and supply the uniforms with his designs.
The defining detail on the uniforms is a new color, which Posen has dubbed "Passport Plum." He created it by mixing Delta's colors together — red and blue — and carrying it across different uniforms to create one cohesive team look. In addition to that, employees can choose between either the plum colored uniforms or switch to suits in "Cruising Cardinal," which is the original red color, and "Groundspeed Graphite," which is the grey typically worn by the male attendants.
But part of the fun of getting a designer piece is also getting a designer fit, and Posen believed that it wasn't appropriate to just send out various sizes to different employees and hope they fit. Instead, each employee gets fitted by a tailor before ordering, and gets their uniform altered to fit their body perfectly. He also understood that not everyone would feel comfortable in the same kind of silhouette, so there are different cuts to choose from as well.
"The new uniforms come in over 30 different sizes as well as regular, petite, curvy, long and short cuts," Dimbiloglu explains.
The friendly skies just got a whole lot more stylish.