Delta Airlines has announced that American fashion designer Zac Posen will be dressing the airline’s flight attendants beginning in 2018. Naturally, the airline is pitching the partnership as a way to “bring American glamour back to flying,” which is often the way such designer-airline collaborations are spun.
Let’s be honest, the glamour has been absent from air travel for decades now—especially on Delta and other US airlines’ domestic flights, where it seems passengers are as likely to fly in yoga pants and hoodies or the crinkled suits in which they sat through a day of business meetings before rolling their carry-ons back home.
Glamour may be out of the question, but a flattering, fashionable uniform for flight attendants should not be. No matter how much our airplanes increasingly feel like cattle cars, professional jet-setting seems like it still ought to have a bit of polish. This is a customer service business after all, and flight attendants are the ones who spend the most time facing the customers.
Perhaps it’s the marrying of fashion and function, or meeting a certain price point that proves difficult—are they all polyester blends?—but other recent attempts at improving airline uniforms have generally proven disappointing. Maybe Posen can end the creative drought. In addition to designing his own womenswear collection and consulting on a Charles James reboot, Posen is the creative director of Brooks Brothers. He has loads of experience flattering the female form with the intricate construction of his va-va-voom gowns, and has likely learned a thing or two about suiting from his Brooks Brothers gig. We’ll see if his designs can fly off the runway.