BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK: Wales
Front Page 
Northern Ireland 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Wednesday, 16 May, 2001, 11:06 GMT 12:06 UK
Airline gets Macdonald makeover
Julien Macdonald with Naomi Campbell at the London Fashion Show
Award-winner Macdonald will revamp the BA look
Welsh-born fashion designer Julien Macdonald has been chosen to design uniforms for more than 30,000 British Airways staff.

The award-winning knitwear specialist from Merthyr Tydfil, in the south Wales Valleys, who sets out to sell "sex on legs" is renowned for revealing creations coveted by A-list celebrities.

Air travel is a glamorous business and my aim is to create a uniform which reflects this

Julien Macdonald

And union officials are concerned that their members may be forced to wear unsuitably sexy outfits.

"Uniforms should be functional, smart and presentable,"said a Transport and General Workers' Union spokesman.

"Our members should not be dressed as sex objects and should be consulted on changes to their uniforms."

Kelly Brook in a Julien Macdonald creation
Kelly Brook's head-turning Macdonald dress
British Airways have chosen Macdonald - who boasts Liz Hurley, Nicole Kidman and Joely Richardson among his clients - to design the new outfits for pilots, cabin crew, and check-in staff in a bid to help promote its new image.

"Julien's vision for our new uniform reinforces the airline's refreshed identity - classic, yet modern, stylish, but practical," said the airline's director of marketing, Martin George.

Earlier this year, the designer consolidated his reputation for sexy, feminine couture when he was appointed artistic director of the French fashion house Givenchy.

Soon after he was awarded one of the most prestigious accolades in fashion - the title of Most Glamorous Designer of the Year at London Fashion Week.

Julien's vision for our new uniform reinforces the airline's refreshed identity - classic, yet modern, stylish, but practical

Martin George, British Airways

Macdonald has said that he sets out to sell "sex on legs" and the skimpy dress he designed for dressing Kelly Brook for the Snatch film premiere last year seemed to testify to that.

The dress, which was cut so high it showed her underwear, won the actress a prize for both best and worst outfit of 2000 in a poll of Heat magazine readers.

But, in an effort to calm fears, Macdonald has said he would meet as many BA staff as possible before finalising his designs.

"Air travel is a glamorous business and my aim is to create a uniform which reflects this," he said.

Joely Richardson
Fans include actress Joely Richardson

Plans for the uniform were being kept secret but British Airways said it expected staff to be wearing the new outfits by the end of 2002.

The current red, white and blue uniforms, designed by Dublin-born Paul Costelloe, have been worn for the past eight years.

Rebranding is part of British Airway's strategy to restore flagging profits and reposition itself in an increasingly competitive market, particularly on transatlantic routes.

Last month, the airline announced it would revert to carrying the blue, white and red colours of the Union Flag on the tailfins of its jets.

Ethnic designs from around the world which replaced the flag in 1997 quickly proved unpopular.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

26 Sep 00 | Wales
Diamond dress that never was
23 Sep 99 | Wales
Mel G models for MacDonald
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Wales stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Wales stories