Couture in the clouds, Vivienne Westwood redesigns Virgin Atlantic uniform

Vivienne Westwood, the fashion designer whose imaginative and sometimes controversial creations have been raising eyebrows for the last four decades, is teaming up with UK-based Virgin Atlantic airline to redesign the company’s air stewardess uniform.

Even at 71 years of age, the fashion designer’s creative flair continues to attract the rich and famous to her studio, and now Virgin Atlantic boss Sir Richard Branson has entrusted her with the image that his cabin crew will portray for the next few years.

The airline’s stewardesses will still be adorned in the distinctive shade of red that has become part of the company’s brand image, but according to the Daily Mail, Westwood’s take will reference 40’s couture cuts. The suit will be drawn in at the waist and have double pleats to provide a feminine silhouette. The male crewmembers will not be excluded from the fashion evolution, and will be attired in burgundy-coloured Saville Row suits.

Richard Branson was quoted in the Mail, saying, ‘Virgin Atlantic has a distinct spirit and from a design perspective we continually try to challenge the norm and stand out from the crowd. Our current uniform has been around for more than 10 years and we have seen other airlines start to copy it. When we were choosing the designer for this project, we wanted to work with a group of people who share our spirit of adventure, who believe in challenging the status quo and creating something truly memorable.’

The new uniforms will be issued to all 7,500 of Virgin’s cabin crew, Clubhouse staff and Virgin Holidays employees, and they will initially be introduced for a trial period from July this year.