In 1963, Air France called upon haute couture maison Christian Dior to design its uniform. This became the start of the company’s history of collaborations with world-renowned French designers.
The maison lost its founding designer Monsieur Dior in 1957. In replacement, his longtime assistant Yves Saint-Laurent took on the role as Artistic Director. However, he was drafted into war in 1960. As a result, Marc Bohan covered for Saint-Laurent and remained with the house for 30 years.
“At the time, we promoted French elegance and sophistication. The flight attendants were required to have the style and intellect to pull off haute couture designs,” explained Simon Pierre Souillot, responsible for archives at Air France.
During the fall/winter season, the attendants would wear a short jacket with round Claudine collar and tight skirt. Underneath the jacket, a white blouse with a ribbon tie at the front was worn. For spring/summer, a short-sleeved dress in saxe blue was proposed. The skirt of the dress was shaped like a trapezoid. Belts were inspired from Japanese decorative strings for kimono. The pillbox hat was designed in the same color as the wear, and the outfits were styled with pointed-toe pumps designed by Dior.
The media reported the news of the collaboration, which marked a new era for flight attendants. Admiration for the attendants grew as they became associated with the trendiest fashion.
To be continued into 4/6.