Scarves are my favorite accessory. They add a certain type of retro chic to any outfit. I have a rather large collection, and like what they add to an outfit. My boyfriend tells me that when I wear a scarf, it transforms me into a flight stewardess – which is a good thing considering the healthy fascination many of us have with uniforms.
What is it about deconstructing uniforms for daily use that is so appealing? It has to do with the meaning a uniform.
Uniforms create a very specific identity of the wearer. Exclusivity is the central appeal. Usually, one must complete a training, pass certain tests, and become inducted into the group before the uniform is awarded to the individual. What I love is the structured, put together look each of the attendants has. Even though there is a uniform, each stewardess seems to express her own unique personality. Apparently Italian espresso company Lavazza thinks so, too.
Some groups are more exotic than others. I particularly like Braniff International Airways (now defunct). Between 1965 – 1977, Emilio Pucci designed the stewardess’s uniforms. What an amazing fashion collaboration! Pucci designed the uniform with the concept of sportswear – various layers that could be added or subtracted according to the weather. Braniff’s marketing company, Jack Tinker and Associates, took this idea a bit further with a TV ad called The Air Strip. Tres sexy! Marty from Flight.org had to say the following:
In the television commercial, a hostess casually takes layers of her Emilio Pucci uniform for the duration of the commercial in the form of a strip tease, while the narrator uses subtle sexual references to describe her behavior. He concludes with the tag line, The air strip is brought to you by Braniff International, who believe that even an airline hostess should look like a girl. Note that the term hostess is used rather than flight attendant or stewardess. It was believed that branding them as hostesses would make the cabin crew and the airline more appealing to the male population.
Thanks, Marty! Great analysis. (Loved your site, too!) Watch the video here:
If the airline wasn’t out of business, I bet lot of men would be buying tickets right about now . . .
So now, if you are curious like me, you want to see some of these actual uniforms. Well former stewardess, err, hostess Gail C. Saleinus has her entire private collection of uniforms on her website Modcolors.com. Gail, I absolutely adore you for sharing these:
OMG I love this fuchsia shift with the scarf. Gail, it is a classic!
You don’t look crumpled at all, totally chic!
I am going so ape right now . . . these are amazing!!
Gail, really – this is too much for me! These clothes are AMAZING. I want them all! If you ever decide to part with them, call me first!
What a lovely parasol umbrella!
I used to have a Scottish terrier, too. So cute :)
*Sigh* A Pucci uniform and Neiman Marcus shoes. Can my job please provide such a uniform??
Emilio and the gals.
Chic ladies like Gail even inspired a line of Barbies. No doubt inspiring young girls to dress like the hostesses.
Watch another video here.
Halston made some uniforms, too. I’ll have to fill you in on those tomorrow!