If you haven’t yet seen, the Auckland Museum is currently home to the Air New Zealand exhibition, celebrating 75 years in the sky. On display are examples of all the air hostess uniforms to date, a couple of model air cabins you can have a wee recline in, mid-century poster and menu art, video footage of the opening of Auckland Airport’s first international terminal, and of that other time The Beatles visited NZ and were presented with Hei Tiki (traditional Maori tiki necklaces) as big as their chests! There’s a lot to see, and the level of interactivity keeps you entertained the whole way through. And as an added bonus, just situated outside the museum, there’s a nose of a Boeing 737 for you to pretend to captain, if only for a few moments.
If you haven’t been yet, you have until the 22nd of May to get down there and take a pilot selfie or two.
Edit: The Boeing 737 nose was removed from the exhibition on the 3rd of May, to be used in internal Air New Zealand training. But the rest of the exhibition is still alive and kicking for another few weeks.
Now here’s the part of the story where Air New Zealand meets Devel…
Once upon a time, I was applying a final press to a custom deep purple WiggleFin Skirt, ordered by local pin-up Soda Fontaine. I was pressing those pocket fins out nice and sharp, and the combination of the shape and shade of purple sparked a design inspiration. Suddenly I had a modern-retro, Devel take on an Air New Zealand hostess uniform dancing in my mind, which I became very excited about and shared the concept with my husband straight away. I knew if I was going to do it right, I would also need to commission a custom hat, and with my big exciting design collaboration with Shag already under way, and the Very Vintage Day Out looming on the horizon, the idea all seemed too big, and I pushed the inspiration back into my brain’s archives for later.
A few weeks later, with the completion of The Shag Jacket in sight, and when faced with the now-or-never pressure of our darling Soda Fontaine relocating to London shortly after my business trip to the States, I sucked it up and said “I’m doing this, NOW!” With Soda on-board as my model (agreeing to shoot the day after VVDO and her birthday, no less!), and the talented Amy from Chica Chica Boom Chic agreeing to whip me up a custom hat to my specs, I set to work on the modern-retro blouse to match Soda’s skirt.
The airline blouse (a development from my Girlboss Blouse) was completed a couple of days before VVDO, I sourced a beautiful silver leaf-shaped brooch from Bird’s Vintage Buttons, reminiscent of the locally favoured icon, the Silver Fern, and some last minute hair and make-up supplies from Morgie Lee Vintage Hairstyling. We were ready to take the final result to the Auckland Museum for our Air New Zealand-themed shoot.
And here it is, Devel Vs Air New Zealand.
Soda was the most adorable air hostess you could ever imagine! And with her travelling halfway around the world soon after, AND always wanting to be an air hostess, well, it all seemed most appropriate.
The uniform has a distinctly 1950’s shape to it, and makes use of the colourway that Air New Zealand used in its uniforms and branding in the past, previous to the current pink-and-green imagination. This is a chic and upbeat design, which would stand out well in a sea of travellers, and would give the wearers a sharp and professional look. The only literal iconography I used is the silver pin on the hat, which I feel is an elegant take on having cultural icons incorporated into the uniform. Other subtle spots of branding could easily be added to this modern-retro base, and a whole range of garments could be developed from this initial inspiration.
The hat shape was inspired by the 1950’s style worn by the Trans World Airline (TWA) hostesses, and the shade of teal nods to the Air New Zealand heritage of when they were actually called Teal. The swoop style-line in the hat, along with the long sharp lines in the skirt, speak to the Jet Set age of the late 1950’s, and the design movement it inspired.
Go high, go far, go fast.
I know I would get a kick out of flying with a flight crew who looked like this, how about you?