Staff and crew at the Flying Kangaroo will have a fresh look on Thursday December 12 when Qantas switches over to its chic new uniform.
All of the airline's 12,600 domestic and international uniformed staff will don the new garb on that day, although if you keep your eyes peeled you may already spot some crew in the uniform created by Melbourne-born but Paris-based designer Martin Grant.
They're part of a 120-strong 'Style Ambassador' squad – specially selected staffers at Qantas lounges and terminals who have been chosen to wear the new uniform "to provide our employees with more information about the new look" a Qantas spokeswoman told Australian Business Traveller.
In addition to hosting "image and presentation workshops" for Qantas staff, the Style Ambassadors can also wear the new uniform when rostered onto normal duties.
Qantas unveilled its new uniforms in April this year, with designer Martin Grant predictably ditching the Aboriginal prints of the current kit in favour of clean European-inspired cuts based on a dusky French navy incorporating elements of 'Qantas red' with the odd playful fuchsia pink highlight.
“I didn't try and push it to a specifically Australian aesthetic” Grant explained. “I thought we already have Qantas being Australian – that is almost enough.”
As the cornerstone of his design, Grant says “I kept coming back to Qantas and the Qantas logo and the image that we all have of Qantas, which is the red triangle, the tail of the aircraft with the flying kangaroo."
“For me, if not the best airline logo, it is one of the strongest international logos. When you see it in the international ports it has a very strong impact."
The total wardrobe comprises some 35 individual garments, including a trilby-style cap and trenchcoat intended for off-the-plane wear which will serve to promote Qantas brand in and around airports – even to travellers who aren't flying with the Red Roo.
The trenchcoats sport a fold-down lapel which reveals a flash of red and a small version of the iconic Qantas kangaroo, neatly mirroring the 'red triangle' brandmark and the tail of a Qantas jet.
Real-world guidance on Grant's design came through the Qantas Uniform Panel, a group of 12 representatives from each of Qantas' customer-facing uniformed departments including cabin crew and ground employees who provided feedback on functionality and wearability of the uniform throughout the design process.
Underneath the trenchcoat, the blokes of Qantas wear a single-breasted, single-buttoned structured jacket and a V-neck knit vest.
Here's supermodel Miranda Kerr sporting one of the cabin uniforms...
... alongside designer Martin Grant.
This video shot by Qantas captures the 'fashion show' launch of the uniform's debut.
A blast from the past...
Take a stroll down memory lane with this gallery of Qantas uniforms over the decades, beginning with the soon-to-be-retired kit.
Introduced in 2003 and refreshed in 2008, it was created by Australian fashion designer Peter Morrissey (below, centre).
Those sharp black threads are a long way from this groovy look of the mid-70s through to the mid-80s:
After all, nothing says 'premium airline' like an orange jacket with a mustard-yellow shirt and striped brown tie!
Today's frequent flyers may be more likely to recall trips with Qantas staff decked out in these blue (and rather British-looking) uniforms of 1985-1993...
... and will certainly be familiar with the duskier navy tones through to 2003.
Here's what hosties were wearing in the early '70s – back in those days when we could call them hosties.
All those uniforms plus a red mini from the late 60s come together in this shot of Qantas uniforms from past to present.
Click here for a slideshow of Qantas uniforms from 1948 to today – and if you're really into the in-flight fashion, visit the very detailed if oddly unsettling (and thus, perhaps appropriately-named) UniformFreak site featuring "1,142 different stewardess uniforms from 433 airlines."
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