I was privileged to be invited by Alitalia to witness the launch of the airline’s new Made Of Italy campaign, and the reveal of a new collection of uniforms for cabin crew and ground crew, designed exclusively for Alitalia by Milan-based Italian haute couturier Ettore Bilotta.
Alitalia did not let the runway down on its big day in Rome. The airline displayed energy, creativity, passion, and quite bit of well-deserved pride in its roots.
So. Many. Outfits!
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Each was as elegant and impeccably tailored as the next.
The ‘Alitalia Collection’ was inspired by the glamour high-fashion 1950s and 1960s, but it is much more than that.
My design-conscious and artistic husband (an architect by training and painter by vocation) referred to them favourably as “very retro-futuristic.”
Structurally, that label fits perfectly. The lines and aesthetic of Alitalia’s crew uniforms harken back to Golden Era Glam, but the style is not just updated it is futuristic. It’s not just current, it’s enduring.
That’s not an easy balance to carry out, walking fine line between emulation and the creation of a new style which can hold its own ground.
Too much referencing of the past, and you wind up with period costume. Too much adherence to styling common now and the result is somewhat bland.
The cut and colours of the collection have been selected to complement the silhouettes of all, and the textiles flow with a sexy Italian elegance. A blend of 96 per cent fine Italian wool and four per cent Elastane has been used for enhanced comfort and functionality.
These uniforms are, frankly, stylish enough to wear off-duty.
Every element of the collection represents and respects Alitalia’s iconic flagship status.
Bilotta used earthy hues of red which represent Italian passion; tones of green recall the Italian countryside and the evergreen nature of Italian culture.
All materials selected were locally sourced and manufactured in Italy, including fabrics from Tuscany, silk in Como, the men’s uniforms tailored in Puglia, leather accessories from Naples and shoes from the Marche region.
Bilotta’s lines are in part inspired more by the soft structures of Italy’s landscapes than architecture, and it shows. The garments and accessories are solid, but soft-edged. They stretch when they need to and spring back to retain their form.
The hats and handbags and briefcases are perfectly luxurious. Alitalia might want to seriously consider coming up with a retail-line of limited edition accessories. These could be sold exclusively to loyalty and premium customers. I think the airline would make a bundle.
Alitalia asked the designer “to create a new style which would be timeless and enduring.”
Bilotta got the job done, and then some.
Here’s the brief on the threads:
Female cabin crew uniforms: a burgundy transforms to a lighter red through a variegated chevron print design.
Female ground crew: a charcoal grey changes to green as the chevrons gather together.
The variegated chevron is a common pattern for all garments, and features on a white blouse with chevron print columns; red for cabin crew and green for ground crew.
All women receive three outfit options: a one piece dress, a two piece jacket and skirt, and a trouser option.
Chevrons on men’s uniforms are dark charcoal grey and wood green.
A double-breasted waistcoat, in the same colour tones, is worn by all male cabin crew.
Male ground crew wear the same colour scheme, but in reverse.
Male cabin crew get a red tie to complement the red female cabin crew uniform.
Male ground crew wear a green tie to complement the green female ground crew uniform.
The stylish wool crêpe overcoats come in burgundy for female cabin crew, green for male cabin crew and female ground staff, and charcoal grey for male ground staff.
Ties, waistcoats, cardigans, scarves, belts, shoes, gloves and bags, complement the ensembles and really stand out. These are not after-thought accessories, but well thought out essential elements of the Alitalia ‘Made Of Italy’ look.
Female cabin crew get accessories in wood green. Female ground staff get burgundy accessories. All male staff get black accessories.
All 5,700 of Alitalia’s cabin and ground crew, including check-in and lounge staff, will be issued the new outfits starting this July.
Alitalia is already working on new uniform designs for flight crew and operational staff.
Ettore Bilotta was also the designer of Alitalia partner Etihad Airway’s gorgeous new uniforms revealed at the end of 2014.