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95 Years of Qantas Uniforms as Worn by Barbie and Ken

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As part of its 95 years celebrations, Qantas has launched a four-week pop-up exhibition at its Sydney Qantas Club of Barbie and Ken dolls donning crew uniforms from the 1920s to present day.

The dolls showcase the changing fashions which range from Ken pilots wearing flying goggles and leather coats to Barbie wearing the colourful “air hostess” prints of the 1970s.

The original collection was put together by John Willmott-Potts, a former Qantas long haul flight attendant who worked on the tiny uniforms over 22 yeas and matched them to Barbie and Ken dolls from the period.

The dolls were originally used for a travelling interactive history lesson called ‘Stitches in Time’ which Willmott-Potts brought to schools and libraries in rural New South Wales.

Willmott-Potts donated his collection to the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in Sydney when he passed away in 2010.

“This collection is truly something quite special and the fact that a former Qantas crew member personally created these uniforms as a hobby shows the passion our people have for the airline. We’re excited to share them with customers as we prepare to mark our anniversary, especially given they have never been on display as a formal exhibition before,” said Qantas Group Executive of Brand, Marketing and Corporate Affairs, Olivia Wirth.

“There are some eye-catching uniforms that form part of our 95 year history, including the bright green and blue floral patterned Pucci dresses from the mid to late 1970s, to the bomber jackets with fur-trimmed collars worn by Qantas pilots before the second World War. Special mention to the Yves Saint Laurent flight attendant uniform from the late 80s with its oversized shoulder pads and heavy gold trim that was right on trend during that era”.

To update the collection, Qantas asked Australian born, Paris-based designer, Martin Grant to create versions of his new Qantas uniform sized to fit Barbie and Ken. Barbie and Ken then took off to showcase their new uniforms in London and Sydney.

You can see the full gallery of pictures here. (Click to open gallery).

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