Aviation and fashion have always enjoyed a close relationship – from the mini-skirted air stewardesses of the sixties, right up to this year’s Burberry aviator jacket, seen on the catwalk at Fashion Week.
Over the last decade a trend has also emerged for airlines to commission some of the world’s top fashion designers to create stylish cabin crew uniforms. But how effective has this been? Flights comparison site Skyscanner.net reviews the fashion-forward airlines and discovers who its users think is the most stylish airline.
Fashion heavyweight Italy was one of the first countries to enlist a fashion designer to design uniforms for its national carrier. In the early 1990s Giorgio Armani designed uniforms for Alitalia, to much critical acclaim. However today’s uniform, designed by Mondrian from the Nadinin Group, gets just 8% of the votes in Skyscanner’s poll of the most stylish airlines.
Welsh designer Julien MacDonald took his needle and thread to BA’s uniform in 2004 in an effort to stop cabin crew looking like “someone’s old granny”. A respectable 15% of Skyscanner users think that BA, which sponsors London Fashion Week, should take the top title in the style poll.
Air France commissioned Christian Lacroix to design a whole wardrobe of items for cabin crew in 2005. Lacroix designs for an impressive list of celebrities, and Skyscanner users are suitably impressed, with 17% voting Air France’s uniforms as the most stylish.
LA-based couture designer Richard Tyler debuted his designs for Delta Airlines at New York Fashion Week in 2005, with an attention-grabbing red dress. However the dresses have not grabbed Skyscanner users’ attention, with a measly 5% voting Delta to be the most stylish.
Spanish designer Adolfo Dominguez, whose dresses are coveted by Gwyneth Paltrow, introduced coloured shirts to denote ranking when he designed the Iberia uniforms. Dominguez may be a celebrity favourite but the poll results show he is not a Skyscanner favourite, taking just 9% of the votes.
While many other airlines, including Jet Aiways and Lufthansa, have also used top fashion designers to create their uniforms, the appeal seems to be limited, according to the results of the poll. The airline that Skyscanner users actually deemed to be the most stylish is Qatar Airways. The airline’s retro-look crimson uniform took a massive 33% of all votes.
Top ten most stylish airlines ranked in order of most stylish*:
1. Qatar Airways
2. Air France
3. British Airways
9. Jet Airways
*the survey was conducted on over 500 users, on the ten airlines as detailed in the rankings.