- Etihad recently re-designed their in-flight uniforms with the help of Italian Haute Couturier Ettore Bilotta
- In 2014, British designer Vivienne Westwood re-imagined the Virgin Atlantic uniforms, adding a punk aesthetic
- On the all-business class airline, La Compagnie, females don chic culottes crafted by French label Vicomte A
With many passengers showing up to board a plane clad in messy joggers and ill-fitting T-shirts, it’s safe to say that the glamorous era of flying is behind us.
But for the stylish cabin crew on some of the world’s largest airlines, it’s another story entirely.
Air France, for example, commissioned notable French couture designer Christian Lacroix to craft the chic outfits for their flight attendants, while Etihad’s classic yet contemporary designs were inspired by 1960s Rome and Paris.
Here, MailOnline Travel reveals our top picks for the best-dressed in-flight.
The UAE-based airline’s beautiful uniforms offer a subtle nod to its Italian partnership with Alitalia. After all, they were designed by Italian Haute Couturier Ettore Bilotta.
Conceptualised at his studio in Milan, his aim was to merge the dramatic 1960s couture found in Paris and Rome with the more contemporary looks now seen on catwalks in London and New York.
The colour palette is particularly chic, incorporating regal purple accents with a timeless burgundy tweed.
The launch of the new looks coincided with the unveiling of the new cabins in Etihad Airways’ fleet of Airbus A380 and Boeing 787-9 aircraft.
And the photoshoot to accompany it was every bit the high-fashion affair.
Award-winning American photographer, Norman Jean Roy, captured a breath-taking set of images of the new collection among the majestic sand dunes of Abu Dhabi’s Liwa desert.
It’s no surprise that one of Britain’s most beloved designers, Vivienne Westwood, was the mastermind behind the chic, ladylike Virgin Atlantic uniforms.
Her partnership with the airline began back in 2013 and the new looks were revealed in July of the following year.
Inspired by a punk aesthetic, Westwood crafted a tailored, asymmetric look for the in-flight crew, which includes a cheeky ‘bow-tie’ shirt and Victorian-era high-collar accents.
The double-breasted ‘drape coat,’ which gathers at the waist and offers a feminine silhouette thanks to its oversized collar, is another hero design among the new garments.
For the men, a sharp Saville Row-inspired three piece suit has been crafted in a deep, burgundy wool.
The contemporary style still contains a nod to Westwood’s classic aesthetic in a subtly striped button down with British collar and her signature Oxford shoe.
The all-business class airline, which runs a regular service between Paris and New York and London and New York, is as well known for its stylish uniforms as it is for its unparalleled service.
With a nod to the company’s French origins, La Compagnie enlisted the help of Parisian fashion house Vicomte A to design the in-flight styles.
Female crew don chic, yet practical culottes and a Celeste blue silk scarf, while the smart male stewards are clad in a three-piece suit and blue knitted tie.
It’s far less formal than one might expect from such an airline – not that we’re complaining.
The Russian national carrier’s eye-catching uniforms are as noteworthy for their retro blazers and tilted caps as they are for their bold orange hue.
In 2010, the new uniform was created by Julia Bunakova and Evgeny Khokhlov, two prominent local designers from St. Petersburg.
While the women’s uniform comes in a chic dark blue colour, as well, specifically for the winter months – it’s their red tangerine summer offering that tops our best-dressed flight crew list.
We’re not the only ones who think so.
In 2013, the Aeroflot cabin uniform was voted to be the most stylish in Europe in a survey organised by global travel search site, Skyscanner.
And with white gloves and neckties that hark back to the golden age of flying, passengers just might feel as though they’ve transported back to the swinging Sixties when they step on board.
Emirates is home to some of the most sophisticated uniforms in the business.
But instead of sourcing out the designs to an internationally renowned fashion house, the airline decided to employ British designer Simon Jersey, a longtime leader in corporate clothing.
First introduced in 2009 – and using colours and fabrics that mirror the elegance of the brand – the new uniforms simply improve upon the look and comfort of yesteryear’s designs.
For men, a rich chocolate coloured suit with a subtle cream and red pinstripe was chosen. Women, on the other hand, wear an elegant mushroom coloured suit with a matching chocolate and red pinstripe pattern.
A cream blouse is worn by both cabin crew and pursers and an inverted pleat on the skirts offer a flash of red when the female flight attendants walk by.
But its the headwear – the signature red hat and white scarf – that is the crew’s best accessory, also offering a nod to the Dubai-based brand’s culture and history.
Crafted by Christian Lacroix, Air France’s uniforms have long been considered to be one of the most unique in the air.
With a long history of working with top designers, the airline has previously contracted Balenciaga and Dior in the 1960s.
However, the latest Air France incarnation, which was introduced in 2005, may be the best yet, as Lacroix’s now-signature red gloves and sculptural red bow-tie belts perfectly accent the navy blue theme colour.