Australian flag carrier Qantas has taken its new look uniform on a world tour, with the last stop being the Cafe Royal hotel on Regent Street, London, where Business Traveller caught up with designer Martin Grant to discuss his inspiration and pride in the project.
Grant took his influence for the uniform from the Qantas logo, with the red triangle visible throughout the uniforms, in details on the back of the women’s skirts to the underside of the lapels on the overcoats.
“As an Australian ex-pat it is a great privilege to design the Qantas uniform,” says Grant (below, centre). “When I am travelling and I see the red tailfin of a Qantas aircraft I feel like I am home.”
Grant has designed 35 different garments for female and male Qantas employees. Female employees will wear a combination of a dress, top, a suit and a trench overcoat, accompanied by a scarf and a trilby hat in a knitted fabric made from recycled bottle tops. Men will wear suits or polo shirts. Pilot uniforms remain unchanged.
The red soled footwear has been provided for the launch shows by Christian Louboutin, a friend of the Parisian ex-pat Grant, but unfortunately staff won’t be receiving a pair each, with plain black footwear being advised.
The navy suiting is made from 80 per cent Australian wool, a product Grant is passionate about due to his antipodean origins. This is worn with a white shirt and then there are various hints of Qantas red in diagonal stripes across tops and dresses for women and on men’s ties.
To take away from the standard red, white and blue combination, Grant has also introduced fuchsia scarves for general cabin crew and dark ruby red details for more senior staff.
The suiting is sharp, clean and modern. Grant trained in London for a year and the influence of Savile Row is obvious in his clothes. “I am self-taught and have always done a lot of made to measure. The art of tailoring is where I come from as a designer and the structure in particular is what interests me,” says Grant.
Qantas unveiled the new uniform with a runway show last month (see online news, April 16). Eventually all 12,600 uniformed Qantas staff will start wearing the new uniforms from early 2014.
For more information, visit qantas.com.au.
Report by Scott Carey
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