Vivienne Westwood has always been fashion forward, but she’s taking her cutting edge design style to new fashion heights–literally. The Brit icon launched her much anticipated red hot uniform collection for Virgin Atlantic on Tues, July 1st, without a Union Jack or safety pin in sight.
Following the announcement of the partnership last year, Sir Richard Branson and Dame Vivienne Westwood, joined a host of other famous faces (Blondie, Naomi Harris, Goldie, Mark Ronson, Matt Smith and Dominic Cooper amongst others) at the Village Underground, London, for the uniforms unveiling. Unfortunately regular folks and passengers alike will have to wait till September 1st to be able to see the uniforms at airports and onboard the Virgin Atlantic flights.
The quintessential Brit known for her maverick punk spirit and ability to challenge the status quo in style (Pharrell’s hat has it’s own Twitter account now), was of course the perfect choice for Branson to reimagine Virgin’s (over a) decade old red uniforms. Their 7,500 staff including cabin crew, pilots, Clubhouse staff and Virgin Holidays employees, will be outfitted in the new uniform consisting of 22-pieces in total.
Inspired by 40s jet-set lifestyle and French couture cutting, the designer and her team created an ultra-feminine silhouette for the female crew. Westwood has often admitted her love of womanly curves and the female form, she has always been a fan of creating a more “glamorous look for the modern woman.” With many of her fashions known for being ‘body conscious’ and ‘cheeky.’ The ladies will be kitted out in a bright red, homage to her own ‘Bettina’ jacket–first seen in the early 90s–with a matching red pencil skirt. Virgin Atlantic’s female crew, will enviously also get an updated pair of her iconic hourglass heels (one of Westwood’s signature designs), in red… obviously. Finishing off their uniforms in a double breasted ‘drape coat’ with cinched waist. Which is absolutely stunning!
After 40 years in the business, her eye for tailoring and detail are impeccable, so the gents in the cabin will look equally sharp. Sporting a Savile Row inspired three-piece suit with a contemporary twist, in a deep burgundy Oxford weave wool. For male employees, I think it’s safe to say the skies will be looking much friendlier in a well- tailored Westwood.
The new addition of bags for ground staff has also been introduced by the Ethical Fashion Initiative in Nairobi, in collaboration with the International Trade Centre, United Nations. Made using recycled canvas, reused roadside banners, unused leather off-cuts, and recycled brass, produced in the Kibera slum, Nairobi. Which was an equally important factor to the eco-friendly fashion designer.
Original design and sustainability are top of the priority list for both Westwood and Branson in this long term partnership, with many of the items made with polyester yarn made from recycled plastic bottles, and a nano finish to extend the garments life and retain colour. “I am always trying to find fabrics that are more friendly to the environment – working with Virgin Atlantic they managed to research into this and find more eco fabrics,” said Westwood.
One can only imagine the joy of being paid to wear Westwood’s designs, as part of your daily work uniform, as you flit effortlessly between London, New York and Paris. This Autumn, I predict a sudden surge in Virgin Atlantic applications amongst fashionistas.