When exploring ideas for my music videos and live performances, I usually discover something new and get a little fascinated by it. And if you’ve been paying attention, you probably know that pretty often my new obsessions have to do with fun, fashion, and the fabulous 1960s!
A few years ago, I played a dancing, singing stewardess in my video for “Age of Aquarius.” And you better believe my look was inspired by a time when air travel was all about luxury, class, sass, and a touch of sex appeal!
In the 1960s and 1970s, frequent-flying businessmen wore suits, and women dressed up in their finest. And the stewardesses who served them were actually trained to be entertainers as much as they were trained in the finer points of plane safety.
It was in the swingin’ ’60s that flight attendants became eye candy and marketing icons for airlines. The skirts got shorter, and stewardesses donned some of my favorite accessories: go-go boots, hot pants, false eyelashes,and bouffant hairdos. Trying to “out-fabulous” each other with stewardess outfits actually became a way for airlines to compete with each other and nab more customers.
But it was super-smart marketer Mary Wells who first decided to bring high fashion to the friendly skies. Hired to help the struggling Braniff Airlines in 1965, she noticed that people saw most airlines as the same. So she launched a little campaign called “The End of the Plain Plane,” which revolutionized everything from airport lounges to uniforms.
Chic designer Emilio Pucci was hired to inject some major glamour into stewardess’ get-ups. Pucci’s first uniform for the company was a celebration of his own jet-setting, high-society clientele and the exclusive nature of air travel during that decade. He put together a wardrobe popping with bright coral reds, hyacinth blues, melons, and grass-green in ultra-luxurious fabrics. Hostesses could make as many as four outfit changes in a single flight!
The plastic bubble helmet designed to protect hairstyles on windy tarmacs was phased out after 1965 for being impractical. (Imagine that!)
Other airlines followed Braniff’s lead, and some of the designer uniforms by style superstars like Pierre Balmain, Mario Armond Zamparelli, Halston, and others got pretty darn wild! The trend continued from the 1960s, through the 1980s.
Virgin Air still makes it all seem glam, but that’s about it for glamour when flying the friendly skies. Anyone else miss the days of glam air travel? If so, you can always watch my video to get your fill.