QANTAS: flying high style as designer PJs & a more casual approach take fliers to the skies.
Rebecca Vallance’s Qantas PJs
BY MELISSA HOYER
As I sit here in my new PJs – yes, it’s a WFH day – I’m thinking about a great fun runway launch & lunch to showcase grand, Central Station-spanking new Qantas pyjamas, designed by leading Australian designer, Rebecca Vallance.
The limited edition pyjamas are now available to business class passengers as the ‘roo has recommenced its New York legs – 3 times per week – transiting through Auckland., before a 17-hour flight direct to NYC.
A new navy sleeper suit on Qantas
While a pair of pyjamas won’t make or break a business class flight – considering the amount of money international flying can cost – the cult-like PJs and amenity kits will be available for business class passengers only. There is a navy sleeper suit, featuring a monogram of the Qantas ‘roo’ and the Rebecca Vallance logo, also incorporating flight numbers QF3 and QF4 and a bespoke New York heart design.
I loved the fact the models who launched the PJs mail were some of the dapper-looking ground & flight QF crew, who chose to strut their pi runway stuff, even in something not always featured in a usual fashion show.
Ms Vallance follows a posse of fashion designers including Emilio Pucci, Leon Paule, Yves Saint Laurent, Akira Isagowa, Peter Morrissey and Martin Grant (Mr Grant is still the current designer of the navy, red and pink Qantas uniforms worn by QF staff) and said she was “overwhelmed” when what is she was told about the collaboration.
New York Fashion Week to the Qantas skies
“I’ve done New York Fashion Week twice, the business is global, but there’s nothing like this,” she said at the launch event. “I remember when I got told, I didn’t think it was real. I was overwhelmed. This is our national carrier — it means a lot.”
The national carrier has also announced that its staff will loosen up when it comes to uniform-wearing requirements.
While the changes are pretty minimal when really examined, – stockings still to be worn with skirts and tattoos to be concealed – the style changes have been jumped on by some to reiterate the good ole ‘go woke, go broke’ mantra.
Those four words still get attached to anyone or any company that happens to re-address old conforms and confines and move them into the current era.
Here’s the thing. Every employee is still required to wear a uniform and things like men being allowed to grow their hair just a bit longer aren’t as dramatic as it sounds, as the style still has to be ‘tidy’. Ditto for make-up. Some men on staff, perhaps with a penchant for pancake (and by the way, the staff were consulted about all of this before the changes were made) would like to wear some foundation. And seriously, is that such a deal?
Fliers are not going to see a rash of ravishing Rapunzel locks or a flock of Ru Paul’s drag show-looking participants twirling down the plane aisle as they push a trolley and make sure everyone is safely buckled in.
The whole idea is to modernise the workforce, and I would think that no question, our universal relaxed work-from-home scenario is part of it.
Twitter has been full of commentary, some seriously angry; others quite funny and others, totally supporting the new move.
‘Just issue them all a few sets of Qantas PJs then,’ said one.
‘The last thing I want is to be served by a dress-wearing hostess with a beard,’ was another, which actually had me laughing. Out. Loud.
While ageism (yawn) has also come into the style equation too.
‘Good move given the age of Qantas cabin crew. When I travel with them is like walking into an RSL lounge,’ said another Twitter aficionado.
‘I’m getting sick of this dressing down, grunch (sic) look rubbish,’ bemoaned another.
‘Since covid people think wearing gym gear and dressing down is the new norm in the workplace. I hate it, take pride in your appearance.’
I think one thing flight attendants do is exactly that – take pride in their appearance. The thing is with these new rules of engagement, they are just allowing a few more ‘now’ attributes – like the ability to wear flat shoes, not wear a full face of make-up, to wear a bigger-faced watch, and gosh, even diamond earrings. Quelle horreur!
A Qantas spokesperson said that in the 80s, sideburns had to stop at mid-ear, ‘gelled spikes’ were out and the airline recommended navy blue as the best eyeliner colour.
“In the 70s, women had to wear skirts above the knee. Today, our employees can choose whether or not to wear makeup, flat shoes and boots are in, and strict rules on watch sizes are out.”
Feedback on Qantas uniforms
But not all of the commentary has been negative with a dose of commentators unfussed over the more relaxed vibe.
‘Welcome to 2023. I haven’t worn heels in 25 years,’ said one.
‘Does it really matter as long as the people in the cabin identify as competent pilots?’ chimed in another.
So let’s not say this is some gargantuan-style overhaul that will see the end of flying high-style civilisation as we know it. It is more about keeping up with the times and of course, like anything, there are going to be people who don’t like change.
While respective uniforms for cabin crew, pilots and airport employees haven’t actually changed, the actual designated ‘male’ and ‘female’ uniform tenacities have been simply scrapped, and all changes were made in response to feedback from Qantas staff.
It was just a few years ago that Qantas did ‘up’ its dressing requirements for people going into their first-class lounges, and I was all for that.
We’ve all seen lazy travellers wearing smelly stuff, and filthy feet in thongs and singlets.
Taking pride in your appearance while flying
And no, calm, calm down. Flying isn’t about being up yourself or having to wear designer duds. (It’s hard enough to even afford airline tickets at the moment.)
It’s just simply about taking pride in your appearance and that is definitely something flight crews will continue to do.
All airlines should be about diversity and the QF spokesperson said the changes will make wearing the uniform more comfortable and practical: ‘‘including those with a wide range of body types and those from diverse cultures.
As far as airline uniforms are concerned, it’s each to their own and whether low cost, middle of the road or high end, I reckon getting in a state because of a relaxed uniform is the least of our problems at the moment.
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