Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Braniff: The Opposite of Stripped-down Style

Note: Originally published at the 2Modern Design Talk blog.

My post last week on Dallas-based Braniff International Airways only made me eager to write about their infamous airline hostess uniforms. I mean you have to make note of a uniform advertising campaign that is built around the burlesque art of strip tease and markets posters such as this Air Strip ad seen here.

The uniforms (see below) were designed as many separate components of a complete wardrobe consisting of a reversible coat worn over a pink wool suit on top of a silk turtle-neck tunic and culottes. Throughout the flight, the hostesses would "strip" off their ensemble until they reached the silk pieces. Using women as eye-candy. Wow, what a novel idea. Not. However, there was in fact a very novel idea in play as these uniforms were innovative and most definitely eye-catching. Designed by Italian fashion designer Emilio Pucci, how could they not be?

1965 Air Strip

1966 Pucci II

As part of a company-wide rebranding effort, Pucci was brought in around the same time as Alexander Girard was hired for graphic design, and the "End of the Plain Plane" campaign. The bright colors used statically on the plane exteriors would now also be seen moving inside the plane cabin.

1971 Pucci VI

Sites where you can see more of these colorful uniforms:
  • Fabulous uniform collection donated by the Clipped B's, a service organization of former BI hostesses.
  • A former Braniff air hostess and her recollection of her uniforms.
  • Hostess uniforms from 335 international airlines and here is Braniff from the mid 60s to late 80s.
  • Check this site's photos for more of the Braniff uniforms in action.
Images: Braniff Pages, the Dallas Historical Society, and Uniformfreak

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