It might have been the swinging sixties, but on board most airlines the ladies walking the aisles were wearing the same air force inspired uniforms as stewardesses 30 years earlier. However, this was a time when flying was supposed to be fun and elegant (passengers didn’t wear sweatsuits – they actually dressed up for a flight).  Braniff International Airways came up with a radically fashionable solution to the stewardess style dilemma.  They hired a rising Italian design talent named…Emilio Pucci.

 

Emilio Pucci

 

Emilio Pucci had an eclectic life that made him an icon of his time.  Born into a noble family, Pucci’s experience with airplanes came from his role as a pilot during WWII. He was also an Olympic skier and was discovered by the fashion world when the famous photographer Toni Frisell noticed his style on the slopes of St. Moritz.  Pucci’s first boutique was on Capri and the second in Rome. Both became destinations of the international jet set.

 

Braniff International hostesses

Braniff International Airways Hostesses

 

Pucci’s new outfits were not only vibrant and fun, but also more practical. They were composed of multiple layers so that hostesses could change according to the weather just by adding or removing a layer of the dress. The one exception to this was the space bubble helmet meant to protect a stewardess’ hairstyle.  While it was stylish and innovative like the rest of the collection, it wasn’t very practical and Braniff stopped using it just one month after it was launched.

 

Pucci Helmet

The short-lived space bubble helmet

 

Pucci’s work was launched with a provocative ad campaign called “The Air-Strip” that played on the beauty of the hostesses.  The print ads included slogans such as “Does your wife know you’re flying with us?”

 

air strip ad

The famous air-strip ad

 

Emilio Pucci’s bright colors (his color palette includes over 400 colors) and geometric shapes redefined the image of the airline hostess. Her presence made a Braniff Airlines experience feel a bit like being on the streets of Paris or Capri.  Unfortunately, the colorful charm Pucci brought to travel is now missing in today’s monotone suitcases and long travel lines.

Braniff International ad

Braniff International Airways' dressed by Pucci

 

 

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