Written by Debbi K. Kickham
Remember the good old, glamorous days of aviation, when flight attendants wore leather gloves instead of rubber gloves?
Well, those golden days are back. The Italian airliner Alitalia’s new uniforms — in a red, green and gray palette unveiled in Rome this past May on the catwalk — feature gorgeous green leather gloves from Naples, among other fashionable goodies. All we can say is, “Ciao, bella.”
The new Alitalia uniform collection was tailor-made by a team of nearly 500 people in Italy. It showcases fabrics from Tuscany, silk from Como, men’s uniforms tailored in Puglia, and shoes from the Marche region. It was created by Italian haute couturier Ettore Bilotta at his Milan atelier and channels not only Italian fashions from the 1950s and ’60s, but also highlights Italy’s rich heritage, culture and national identity.
Aubrey Tiedt, Alitalia’s chief customer officer, said, “Our new Alitalia uniform emulates the beauty, style and elegance of Italy. We want our customers to experience the best of Italy in everything that we do, and there is no better way of highlighting our desire than with our new uniform.”
To represent the essence of Italy in the new collection, Bilotta studied Italian architecture and monuments and drew inspiration from the country’s landscapes — eventually focusing on the terraces of Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera for the new, tiered hat design that evokes the days of Audrey Hepburn and Jacqueline Kennedy.
Bilotta used red to symbolize Italian passion and green to represent the best of Italy. The female cabin crew uniforms feature the color burgundy, which graduates to a lighter red. For female ground crew, uniforms feature a charcoal gray that bleeds to green. The new Alitalia uniforms also include a white blouse with tapering chevron print columns in red for cabin crew and green for ground crew. The female flight attendants can choose from a one-piece dress, a two-piece jacket and skirt or a trouser option.
The men’s uniform also uses the intricate chevron design in gray and green, on the double-breasted waistcoats.
What has not changed at Alitalia is the superior service the airline provides its customers, along with prestigious Italian brands, While flying you can enjoy Lavazza blends of coffee, Campari (the traditional Italian aperitif) and Birra Moretti exclusive beers from different Italian regions. Business Class is a special pleasure on Alitalia. Here you’ll find comfortable cocoons with roomy flatbeds — complete with Frette linens and Poltrona Frau luxury leather upholstered seating. With a push of a button, the seats recline 180 degrees so you can be completely horizontal. A plush duvet, a bedroom-size pillow and even a lumbar-support pillow make the leather seating all the more comfortable. Even noise-cancelling headphones are provided.
Business Class passengers also receive Bulgari amenity kits, with even a special fragrance created exclusively for the airline by Atelier Fragranze Milano.
The meals are just as delicious as the comfort. Starters might be a salad of cauliflower florets and olives in a sweet apple vinegar dressing, followed by short pasta with monkfish and seafood in a white sauce. Entrées include sea bass fillet in a rich tomato sauce. After a lovely cheese course, there is a dessert of either sliced seasonal fruit, or the special “Tre Scalini” chocolate truffle gelato that is made at an acclaimed shop in Rome’s Piazza Navona. Besides an extensive wine selection, you can have a delightful Aperol spritz, along with other goodies such as Limoncello.
At $7,000 per round-trip ticket, this is indeed a splurge, but worth it to arrive in Italy completely refreshed — and in high style. On our recent trip to Venice, my husband Bill was in Alitalia seventh heaven. As he spread out in the plush flatbed, I thought to myself that the only other time I have seen him so delighted and happy was on our wedding day.