The next stage in the ‘reimagining’ of UAE carrier Etihad Airways has been revealed: its new uniforms. Aircraft Interiors International thoroughly enjoyed sitting at a different type of runway, to watch a spectacular fashion show in Abu Dhabi.
Created by Italian Haute Couturier Ettore Bilotta at his atelier in Milan, the new uniform has been designed to exude a ‘classic elegance’, merging elements of old world haute couture from 1960s Paris and Rome, with the more contemporary fashions evident on the runways of London, New York, Milan and Tokyo.
Peter Baumgartner, chief commercial officer of Etihad Airways said: “Ettore, working with our teams, has once again delivered a new uniform which will showcase our brand with characteristic flair at every city on our ever-growing network.
“The world has been paying very close attention to us this year and our new collection will not disappoint. It is the embodiment of the Etihad Airways brand, service ethos and unshakeable commitment to excellence, marking our arrival as a leader of sophisticated flying.”
New York-based photographer Norman Jean Roy, whose prolific career includes work for leading publications such as Vogue and Vanity Fair, leading fashion brands and Hollywood studios, was commissioned by the airline to capture a striking set of images of the new collection. The photo-shoot took place on the sand dunes of Abu Dhabi’s Liwa desert and on location at the Qasr al Sarab desert resort.
The new uniforms are being introduced system-wide from 27 December and will be worn by Etihad Airways’ cabin crews and ground teams, and feature new designs for the airline’s butlers in The Residence by Etihad, First Class inflight chefs, Business Class food & beverage managers, cabin managers, cabin crew, flying nannies, and airport and lounge teams.
The brief given to Bilotta by the airline was for a design which would represent timeless sophistication, glamor and elegance. Ettore Bilotta said: “Since the launch of Etihad in 2003, I have come to know the airline, its teams and management, very intimately, and have developed a style which has evolved as the airline has grown. For me it has essentially been about dressing a brand and an ethos.”
Aubrey Tiedt, VP of guest services at Etihad Airways said: “This is not just a uniform. This is pret-a-porter concept – a future lifestyle statement and homage to the golden age of glamorous flight. It is about bringing back classic elegance, allure and richness to our men and women in a style which will become their signature look. No matter where you are in the world, you will know this is Etihad.”
Made from Italian wool, the uniforms feature an intricate jacquard design and were made in various locations across Italy, with additional manufacturing taking place in Shanghai, Tunis and Bucharest by a dedicated team which totalled approximately 400 staff. Uniquely, approximately 30% of the outfits were handmade or hand-stitched.
Stylishly cut and fitted, each ensemble is easy to wear, flexible and practical, allowing cabin and ground personnel ease of movement as they carry out their duties. The uniforms have been created incorporating almost all the brand colours of Etihad Airways’ brand palette.
A warm chocolate brown has been chosen as the base color for the different uniform variations, with a deep purple accent color for cabin crew and lounge teams, and a burnt orange accent color for ground crews and special services teams. Bilotta has also taken the unusual step of breaking up the main primary shades by introducing all the secondary colors as accents on blouses and accessories.
Female cabin crew, ground and lounge teams will wear a skirt suit, accessorized with fitted gloves, belt, hat and scarf. Hats worn by the crew are now more aerodynamic and ‘retro’, inspired by the iconic stars of the Hollywood Silver Screen and the sweeping formations of the Emirati desert sand dunes.
Male cabin crew will wear a three-piece suit, while male ground crew will wear a two-piece suit. Accessories will also include belts and gloves. Male lounge agents will wear new food & beverage uniforms in line with those worn by the onboard food & beverage Managers.
A classic trench coat adds a sense of catwalk drama to all the variations of the uniform and can be worn in all types of weather. The light-weight coat is versatile and foldable, reducing cost and allowing easy carriage.
All gloves, scarves and neckties feature intricate geometric patterns and fretwork. The same level of detail is also evident on matching accessories such as new slim-line handbags, which have been made to the dimensions of a tablet device.
For the butlers, the airline has combined historic British butler attire with new world design. The fabric colors used for this uniform are warm brown for the long-tailed jackets and ties, ivory for the trousers and waistcoats and white for the shirt and gloves. The tones used reflect some of the subtle colours evident in The Residence by Etihad, and also the airline’s new ‘Facets of Abu Dhabi’ corporate livery.
Style and image have been re-examined in line with the new collection and the bold fiery make-up and lipstick tones used previously have been replaced with calmer shades which are currently de rigueur and which also complement the earthy colors now being introduced.
Etihad Airways has collaborated with leading make up experts MAC to provide their products for crew use at the airline’s ‘Style & Image Suites’ at its Training Academy and its recently opened Innovation Training Academy.