No Plane Jane: The 1960’s Flight Attendant {As Per Pucci}

A bright, bold color palette burst into the grey, chilly landscape of Ms. Jeannie’s winter the other day when she went to view an exhibit devoted to the career of Italian fashion designer Emilio Pucci (1914-1992).

All photos via pinterest

All photos via pinterest

Thoroughly modern back then and still incredibly wearable today, Ms. Jeannie most loved his wrinkle- free derby dresses designed specifically for the globe-trotting woman.

photo via pinterest

photo via pinterest

With beautiful, bold patterns and feminine drape, Pucci was best known for his clean lines, carefully tailored silhouettes and what he called his ” fresh but violent” color pairings. He was creator behind the iconic “Italian look” for his most favorite body-type – the curvaceous American figure. Lucky us!

The exhibit showcased pretty dress after pretty dress before segueing into his collection designed specifically for Braniff Airlines flight attendants…

Photo via pinterest

Photo via pinterest

Cleverly coined the “Air Strip” collection – these transformative uniforms were designed as layered pieces so that the flight attendants could go from outside meet and greet situations on the tarmac to several different versions of uniform depending on the task at hand once inside the cabin. There was an outfit change for cocktail hour, one for dinner service and one for post-dinner refreshments.

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In case of inclement weather, the flight attendants even had special hats…

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A plastic bubble helmet, inspired by the astronauts, to protect from rain or snow!

The innovative marketing concept rolled out in 1965 and was the brainchild of real-life MadWoman ad executive Mary Wells who titled the advertising campaign “The End of the Plain Plane.” Peggy Olson would have been proud!

Considering that this was the look of 195o’s flight attendants…

photo via pinterest

photo via pinterest

which carried through up until 1964 as seen here in this ad for Delta airlines…

Delta Airlines ad circa 1964

Delta Airlines ad circa 1964

You can see how Pucci’s Braniff girls really spiced things up a notch…

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When presenting her marketing campaign ideas to Braniff, Mary Wells reasoned that tired businessmen deserved something pretty to look at. Oh my! And while this sort of ideaology sets the womens lib movement back by miles, you can sort of understand what Mary was going for and what Pucci delivered…

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excitement and glamour in the air! Sure the skirts were pretty short, and the idea of flight attendants being required to go through wardrobe change not once but several times on a trip across the country seems silly, there is still something validating about women being encouraged to dress like women.

Now most of our air service crew across all major airlines dress like this…

photo via pinterest

photo via pinterest

… androgynous corporate America, at its best speaks of neither fun nor glamour.

Of course ever since 9/11 airplane travel has become serious and suspicious. You can’t fault airlines for just trying to focus on the major task at hand – getting passengers from point A to point B safely. But back in the 60’s they had that same task too and managed to both make flying feel enjoyable and exciting.

It would be nice of some of these shiny bells and whistles returned to the sky, even if it was just a relaunch of brightly colored uniforms for flight attendants today. Never underestimate the power of color to help change mood and alleviate anxiety, Ms. Jeannie always says! And that simple adjustment just might work wonders in bringing a bit of enjoyment back to sky-bound travel today.

Pucci never underestimated the power and beauty of natural curves. Mary Wells never underestimated the power of pretty presentation. And jet-setters never underestimated the allure of the travel experience. By bringing back a bit of showmanship to the skies, it might encourage people to experience more of our vastly interesting planet.

What do you think, dear readers? Do you think the 1960’s travel campaign is sexist? Would you like to see a return to the excitement and glamour of the golden age of travel or are you happy with the current state of shuttling to and from that is our contemporary state of air affairs? Please comment below! Ms. Jeannie would love to hear your thoughts!

4 thoughts on “No Plane Jane: The 1960’s Flight Attendant {As Per Pucci}

  1. That campaign would be sexist now but it was fresh and sexy in the ’60s! I love the Pucci look and yearn for the day when air travel was glamorous but, as they say, that ship has sailed, I’m afraid!

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    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts my dear! Maybe the industry could use some vintage refreshing! Hopefully the glamour ship hasnt cimpketi,g sailed. As an eternal optimist I have to believe that elegance will once again return to our friendly skies:)

      Like

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