Happy New Year! I’m kicking off 2021 with a short post about the late Pierre Cardin’s connection to this flight attendant uniform, circa 1966. Well, he designed the outfit, so it’s more than just a connection.
Back in 1966 Cardin designed the flight attendant uniform for PIA (Pakistan International Airlines) – it was groundbreaking in style, and a hit at airport terminals. I remember PIA employees talking about how they were admiringly “mobbed” at airports.
The new PIA uniform was also remarkable in the effect it had on attire of the young female demographic of Pakistan in 1966. I was 16, and this was a breath of fresh air. My friends and I lapped up the style lines and it changed our style preferences for the next few fashion cycles. We wanted to wear everything those flight attendants were wearing — the thigh length tunic and the narrow pants became our fashion du jour for the next few years. We ignored the hood, though; we wore our duppattas (scarves) around our necks, or not at all. Sorry, any old pictures of myself from the 60s are in groups and I do not want to violate my friends’ privacy. Yeah, I’m sort of vigilant about that.
However, here is a publicly shared image of Kate Middleton, future Queen of England in the same style lines she wore on her visit to Pakistan — more than 50 years later!! Things do come around, and I am finding myself wearing the same 1966 silhouette in the 21st century — regardless of age issues such as greying hair and all that.
The PIA cabin crew uniform has gone through many changes, and has a different look right now. Below is the current version — in a tweet by the designer. Not groundbreaking but okay.
Scrolling through this 2015 article shows uniforms over the years: PIA on the Cusp of a Fashion Makeover . It was fun for me to see the earliest and the current uniforms; I had no idea that the first PIA uniform was a skirt suit in tweed.
Want more trivia? Cardin designed those iconic collarless suits for the Beatles as well as astronaut suits for the Apollo 11 crew. Here is a Vogue article recapping just some of Cardin’s career.
Cardin lived for 98 very productive and fashionably consequential years. May he Rest in Peace.
Have a great 2021, and let’s look out for each other…..