For some, there is no greater feeling than the freedom of stepping onto a plane- destination: anywhere. The adventures that await, the anticipation of new experiences and unknowns, and the allure of independence are intoxicating.
Perhaps, the most seasoned travelers of all, are the flight attendants that care to and serve those amongst the clouds. And while I suspect that the nerves eventually dissipate over time, there is another aspect that has changed drastically high above the skies.
Incredibly, since the time that Ellen Church was hired by United Airlines in 1930, the fashion and styles aboard airplanes has evolved dramatically. With the very first uniform designed of dark wool and a green cape, the trend for women attendants has changed to fit the times, comfort and company they work for.
9 years after Ellen Church became the first female flight attendant, the uniforms again evolved towards a cleaner, more cheerful look, created by in-house designer, Zay Smith.
In 1944, with World War II nearly over, the aftermath of the wartime struggles meant that outfits and production of garments become a cost effective and streamlined process.
Over the following years, the fashions did ebb and flow through the times, however it wasn’t until 1965 that a radical approach to the uniforms occurred with the Emilio Pucci designed mini dresses and calfskin boots. These bold and colorful “non-uniform uniforms” were a clear representation of the free and righteous era at hand.
What came next was a parade of famous designers and well known brands, creating classic and timeless uniforms for flight attendants. From Cristobal Balenciaga to Yves Saint Laurent to Dior, airlines have sought the guidance and collaboration from some of the biggest names in fashion.
And as a child who spent a majority of my pastime at airports- coupled by my early passion for fashion- the fascination only grew with each new style. The sharp, clean and structured uniforms of female attendants from airlines such as Pan Am, Air France and Lufthansa, always struck me as being rich in the history of fashion.
Now, as someone blessed to travel often, I find myself being equally inspired by the fashions behind the American Airline uniform. The authority and simple elegance of each new uniform became a muse for me when creating the most recent collection, The Aviator.
Completed with the vibrant colors of the upcoming season, and as a continued expression for my love of all things flight, the scenes depicted at the bottom of the dresses, are my own personal memories from times spent observing at airports.
From passengers gazing towards the incoming aircrafts, luggage in hand, and excitement in their hearts to the glimpses of a woman parting ways with her lover, a military man being sent off- these are the stories waiting to be told.
The spring collection is different in every way from my first collection, The Origin. From red silk dresses and silver clutch bags, perfect for the winter holidays to energizing yellows and pinks, designed to be celebrated and worn outdoors, soaking up the sunshine, both collections were created with my experiences and adventures in mind. Despite having less than a century of fashion inspirations to pull from, flight attendant uniforms have still proven to be an endless source of classic style. Though only time will tell what new trends and inspirations are yet to take place, I suspect that there will never be a departure from the enduringly elegant silhouettes donned by the women flying high above- destination: anywhere.