Martin Grant chosen to redesign Qantas uniforms to bring “glamour” back to air travel

Martin Grant with models wearing past Qantas uniforms

Fashion and airline travel have always gone hand in hand thanks in large part to the glamour days of air travel when people use to dress up to fly the skies of the world to exotic destinations. Today, Qantas Airways‘ marketing manager declared to me at a press conference that the airline wanted to bring back glamour to air travel. So far I’m impressed. They announced today that Australian fashion designer Martin Grant is set to redesign their uniforms.

“I am pleased to welcome Martin Grant to the Qantas team. Martin excelled in what was a rigorous selection process and we now look forward to working with Martin to develop a new uniform,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said.

“Martin’s work reflects modern and contemporary designs and we were extremely impressed with his appreciation for the Qantas brand and his enthusiasm to design the next instalment of the Qantas uniform.”

According to the team at Qantas, Grant’s ideas excelled against other Australian designers who also were in the running for the coveted gig – Qantas’ past uniform designers includes the likes of Yves Saint Laurent and Emilo Pucci, while internationally the likes of Balenciaga and Cynthia Rowley have also dabbled in airline uniform design.

“As an Australian, I’m proud to be working with such an iconic Australian brand. It will be wonderful to see the Qantas teams wearing my design across Australia and in cities all over the world,” Grant said.

“I’ve already had the opportunity to engage with a number of employees across the business and I look forward to working with them again as we develop the uniform.”

Grant was chosen by Qantas management as well as selection panel consisting of staff from various areas of the business – commendable due to the diverse sizes of staff and activities Qantas staff have to perform on a daily basis and in weather ranging from minus temperatures to sweltering heat.

Adept in both women’s wear and men’s wear (especially tailoring), Grant is the ideal choice. Based out of Paris, he shows at Paris Fashion Week every season and has collaborated with the likes of Swarovski and Moncler.

We hear that he will be taking inspiration from Qantas uniforms past and can’t wait to see his how he combines this with elegant design aesthetic.

The Martin Grant-designed Qantas uniforms is expected to be see on their international and domestic cabin staff and ground staff by 2014.

A uniform evolution: from ‘the Redback Spider’ to replicas of Pucci in China

Models wearing past Qantas uniforms from 1948 – 2012

The history of the Qantas uniform is about as illustrious as the airline (and fashion) itself. It’s an evolution of how we as a society has changed over the last 100 years, from military style uniforms to fun flirty and colourful in the 1960s. Keeping up with the Australian tradition of being a little cheeky, the airline had nick names of some of the uniforms in the 1960s and 1970s, including one named after a rather deadly animal – The Redback Spider.

While researching our story, we asked a former Qantas pilot what his best memories were of the Qantas uniforms and he mentioned that the Emilo Pucci-designed Qantas uniforms (1974 – 1985) with their bright colours and signature Pucci print was so popular that there were designer copies reproduced in Asia.

We created a gallery of some of the most iconic Qantas uniforms from the last 60 years on the Facebook page. Check out designs by the likes of Yves Saint Laurent and Emilo Pucci, as well as our very own Peter Morrissey and George Gross & Harry Who.

Who is Martin Grant?

Put simply, he is one of Australia’s best fashion designers who’s name might not be known in every household – not that it means it shouldn’t – but it recognised widely in the fashion world.

Martin Grant came from a suburb in Melbourne, where his grandmother taught him how to sew at age seven, and he never stopped. He went from designing clothes in an atelier on Little Collins Street in Melbourne to studying sculpture before the bright lights of London called him. From there you could say the rest is history.

Grant moved to Paris and opening up an atelier in the Montmartre area, his first collection of sculptural pieces that showed off his skills of making the female form beautiful but strong. It wasn’t long before international department stores came knocking to stock his designs.

His CV reads like his more well-known peers (by that we mean Roland Mouret, Karl Lagerfeld, Tom Ford and Heidi Silmane): he shows officially on the Paris Fashion Week schedule (which is invitation only), has collaborated with the likes of Swarovski Crystal, Barney’s New York and Monclear. Grant was also celebrated in Melbourne in 2005 with an exhibitions of his work at the National Gallery of Victoria.

Martin Grant is kind of amazing. We can’t wait to see what he creates for Qantas.

Watch Martin Grant’s Spring/Summer 2012 show in Paris below


  • Susan says:

    Funnily enough just saw the My Gen episode where they had to put all the Qantas uniforms in chronological order! We love the little red 70’s number the most… 😉

  • Elise @ Stuff That I Bought says:

    This article makes me nostalgic for my childhood! My Dad worked at Qantas for 40 years so I saw at least 3 of those uniforms come and go.

  • Nadia says:

    Looking forwards to seeing what he comes up with. Hopefully he comes through with the glamour!

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