Ben Marks of Collectors Weekly says: "It used to be that air travel was like a ride in a flying limo, but today the ambiance is not much better than going Greyhound. Part of what made the experience so special was the stylish attire worn by flight attendants, as Lisa Hix learned when she spoke with airline uniforms collector Cliff Muskiet and airline jackets collector (and former Wired editor) Todd Lappin. In particular, the 1960s and 1970s were an amazing time for airline fashions, with designers from Jean Louis to Emilio Pucci creating styles for the friendly skies."
Because no one tried to hide the fact that flight attendants were there to be eye candy, big-named designers had a fun time dressing them up and coming up with sexy new gimmicks to promote air travel. In 1968, Jean Louis gave United Airlines stewardesses a simple, mod A-line dress with a wide stripe down the front and around the collar, and paired it with a big, blocky kefi-type cap. During the ’60s and ’70s, Pucci designed five different uniforms for Braniff International Airways.
“If you look at the Pucci uniforms, you can’t imagine that women wore these items,” Muskiet says. “There was even a space helmet, like a plastic bubble. It was used when it was raining outside, so the hat and hair wouldn’t get wet. Braniff also had something called the ‘Air Strip’ in 1965. During service, the stewardesses would take something off to reveal a different layer and a different look underneath. They might be wearing a skirt and remove it to show off their hot pants beneath.”
Paper Dresses and psychedelic catsuits: when airline fashion was flying high
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