How Lauren Bacall, Clarke Gable inspired Etihad's new uniforms

By David Flynn, January 21 2015
How Lauren Bacall, Clarke Gable inspired Etihad's new uniforms

Italian designer Ettore Bilotta gives credit to Hollywood legends Lauren Bacall and Clarke Gable for the inspiration behind Etihad Airways' eye-catching new crew uniforms.

Seeking to evoke a timeless spirit of elegance and glamour which would resonate with travellers around the world, Bilotta says he reached back to the 1950s and its movie stars.

"The inspiration for the women’s outfit was the American actress Lauren Bacall" he tells The National.

"For the men, it was inspired by Clark Gable of Gone With The Wind fame."

"However, the print in the scarf was inspired by ideas from the 1970s. It was a combination of the idea of beauty of the Fifties and some inspiration of textile from the Seventies – same with the coat."

Bilotta also explains why female cabin crew can wear only dresses while their ground equivalents have the option of slacks.

"Females in the in-flight crew were not allowed to wear trousers, because the element of femininity had to be emphasised. It was only allowed for ground staff."

It's a radical shift from the current look, which Bilotta also created and described as "a semi-oriental style that is a mix between oriental and modern design."

"The very important concept of the new uniform was inspiration" Bilotta says, noting that despite being a uniform it had to appear more like a stylish outfit. "In fact, you don’t see any logo, except on the hat. You don’t see it otherwise on the outfit."

Read more: How Etihad Airways made a fashion statement with new staff uniforms

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 645

so in essence...female cabin crew are objects to be exploited/ogled by the male (airline management and pax) ....will Etihad incorporate this into their marketing??...'Fly Etihad and enjoy the benefits/added attraction that all female flight attendants are required to wear a skirt/dress'.

Additionally female ground staff  are considered not as important to the airlines 'image' about creating dissention within your own ranks!! Thankfully they don't have

The most bewildering is that the UAE is based around a certain 'belief system' which 'would prefer'women (including TOURISTS/VISITORS to 'adhere to certain dress codes' (many websites advise it is best not to wear above the knee skirts/dresses as it may warrant undue attention by males)!!!!! yet one of its airlines REQUIRES THIS!!


12 Mar 2014

Total posts 43

Why would the "airline management and pax" exploit and ogle the female cabin crew and not the male crew?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 698

It's a very, very long way from Hooters Airline lol. More about a conservative look, I would have thought, sticking to the golden days of aviation travel and FA uniforms. Are they being any different from Qantas or Virgin Australia here with their female FAs, as I can't recall seeing any of them in slacks/trousers. The uniform would hardly be out of place in any professional environment, it's flattering (well tailored) but hardly crass. Both male and female FAs have to adhere to restrictive grooming and look rules/policies issued by most airlines, so this isn't something new.

That female ground staff can wear slacks/trousers is more a concession to the varied environments they can find themselves working in (inside/outside, etc) compared to the climate controlled cabins that FAs do the considerable majority of their work in (slacks are a better defence against wind/weather).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Oct 2012

Total posts 149

All Australian Airlines female Cabin Crew have the option to wear trousers. 

I'm not sure anyone at EY is concerned by not being allowed to wear trousers. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 Apr 2014

Total posts 34

Just got back last Monday and the new uniforms look like something off a European catwalk the crew looked amazing , the most beautiful  looking flight attendants of any airline , well done ethiad , sad our national carrier has lost it fashion sense manking it's crew look as if they should handing out candy in candy store.

ps the new etihad A380 surpasses all in the sky with emeriates on par , and the menu and I use the word cuisine is on the same standard as most of the elite resturants in Sydney , very impressed , all they need now is there new airport .....

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