Here are more fun photos from a slide show on flight attendant uniforms I put together for CNBC Road Warrior. Part 1 is here.
According to Seattle’s Museum of Flight, in the early 1970s American artist and designer Mario Armond Zamparelli was asked by business magnate and aviator Howard Hughes to create new flight attendant uniforms for Hughes Airwest. A memorable Airwest outfit was a Sundance Yellow princess-line knit dress, which had a matching zippered jacket. When going outdoors, flight attendants could add a hooded cape or a princess-line coat.
“Hot pants and short dresses with hot pants underneath were a common look in the 1960s and ’70s, and Continental, PSA and Southwest Airlines all had uniforms featuring that style,” said Cliff Muskiet of uniformfreakcom. “In those years, the stewardess was used to attract male passengers and hot pants were part of the plan,” he said.
Compared with the hot pants-themed uniforms some airlines required their flight attendants to wear during the ’60s and ’70s, these Cathay Pacific uniforms, launched in July 2011, appear to be quite tame. But the union representing the airline’s flight attendants recently complained the outfits were “too sexy.”
In a statement, Cathay Pacific said it has made some modifications to the uniform to address concerns about the length of the blouse and the tightness of the skirt, and crew members “are welcome to exchange their uniform any time if they feel the fit is not right.”
Although many of the older airlines are long gone, some of the classic airlines are looking to return to the skies, such as PEOPLExpress.
In May 2014, a group trying to bring back Eastern Air Lines, the iconic Miami-based carrier that operated from the 1920s until 1991, held a contest to choose a designer for the uniforms crew members might wear when the airline returns to the skies. The winner was Miami-based designer Lisu Vega, whose collection includes a variety of chic, navy and teal outfits with matching hats and luggage.