Monday, August 8, 2011

A CUT ABOVE - The British Airways Fashion Show at the Southbank Centre

This will be an extension to the previous post on the Vintage Festival at the Southbank Centre as I thought it needed some special attention. British Airways decided to unveil their archive on the flight attendants and pilots uniforms which they have safely stored in Heathrow Airport. Uniforms which are dating since the 1920's up to the present times offered an intriguing journey back in time for the spectators.

So Sunday wasn’t only about vintage shopping, photography, hair and make-up but it was also about fashion 'up in the air'. It was a very nicely put together show, the music and models were very entertaining and the atmosphere was pretty cool.

I managed to wait and stand in line next to all the fashionistas and vintage devouring ladies and I got a seat in the second row!!! My first presence at a fashion show in a considerable spot to take some decent photos allthough my small digital camera is not able to make .

Hope you will enjoy the snapshots anyway !

From 1924 Imperial Airways

Imperial Airways was created in 1924, a direct predecessor of todays British Airways. The crew were all male and the captains were identified by three gold bands.

The Aircrew on flying duties wore either an olive drab flying suit lined with lamswool in temperate regions, or a khaki flying wuit with a short-sleeve jacket and knee-length shorts in desert regions.

Occasionally, leather flying jackets were worn with the flying suit
but only while the wearer was on the ground.


In 1956 students at the Royal College of Art were invited to submit for a new uniform for BEA.

John Cavanagh, one of the top names in British fashion was on the selection panel. The chosen design student was Sylvia Ayton.

The summer and winter uniforms were identical in design but of different weight. A blue singlebreasted raincoat lined in red completed the ensemble; the forage cap would have been ideal for easy packing. This material was pure worsted with a tiny blue-black check and a black border. The hip length jacket was buttoned to the neck, with a wide collar and straight skirt with a single Dior-type pleat at the back.

After World War II Hardy Amies opened his own fashion house at 14 Saville Wor, London, He mad clothes for HRH Princess Elizabeth and after her coronation was awarded a warrant as dressmaker to the Queen.

Working with Amies, BEA introduced this uniform in 1967 in a royal blue worsted material providing a new jet-age fashion for the female staff. The style of this uniform with its shorter length reflected the big trend of the 60's. The red overcoat provided a splash of colour to match the red wings of the new aircraft livery and the red square. This was the first time that trousers were part of the stewardesses wardrobe.

1967 BOAC Paper Dress

A particular fashion statement of the period was the paper dress worn by BOAC stewardesses on flights between New York and the Carribean.

Stewardesses cut the dress length to match their height, subject to BOAC's regulation that the hemline should be no more than 3" above the knee. Tan thights, green jewelled slippers, white gloves and a flower worn in the hair complemented the dress. This outfit , ideal for the era of 'floer power and psichedelic' was manufactured by Joseph Lore Inc. New York.

1977 BOAC - British Airways Baccarat Weatherall

"This new outfit will make British Airways firls the most elegant and attractive in the Airline business." Henry Marking 25 May 1977, British Airways News

Designed by top British fashion house, Baccarat Weatherall , this was the first uniform designed for British Airways staff worldwide.

A smart red-lined jacket and skirt , with optional flared trousers in white pinstripe of the finest wuality was chose for the classical tailoring style. A shoulder bag of dark blue leather and a matching belt bearing the British Airways logo completed the outfit.

1988 British Caledonian Tartans by Kinloch

In 1988 British Caledonian Airways was merged with British Airways.

A key feature of BCAL's uniform was the tartan kilt- they were extremley popular with customers and the general public alike. The tartans were adapted from clans originating in various parts of Scotland. This Cunnungham tartan kilt was one of six colourways designed  in 1984 by Kinloch Anderson Ltd., Edinburgh, kilt-makers to the Royal family.

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