Air India’s Iconic Air Hostesses in 1960

The Evolution of Air India’s Cabin Crew Uniforms

1. European Influences in the 1940s:

  • In the early days, Air India flight attendants sported a complete Westernized look. Their uniforms featured formal tailored suits, crisp collars, and angled caps.
  • Most of these air hostesses were either Anglo-Indians or of European origin.
  • The style sensibilities mirrored those of international carriers, emphasizing sophistication and professionalism.

2. The 1960s: Introducing Sarees:

  • Air India embarked on a mission to position India as an “exotic tourist destination.” This coincided with the airline acquiring its first-ever Boeing 707.
  • The uniform took a distinctive detour from Western influence to a more Indianized persona.
  • Air India introduced two iconic uniforms: the ghagra choli and the saree.
  • The sarees were made of luxurious Kanjeevaram silk, complemented by suave leather bags and the esteemed bouffant hairstyle.
  • The air hostesses became the face of the brand, representing India’s rich culture and heritage.

3. Rolling with the Times in the 1970s:

  • The 1970s witnessed further modifications in the uniform. Alternate-printed sarees and the debut of the salwar suit added versatility.
  • Air India’s cabin crew continued to evolve, adapting to changing fashion trends while maintaining their grace and poise.
  • The saree remained a defining image of Indian airlines, both within and beyond the country’s boundaries.

4. Legacy and Influence:

  • These air hostesses were more than just uniformed professionals; they were trendsetters and ambassadors of Indian elegance.
  • Their legacy lives on, reminding us of an era when flying was a luxurious experience, and the skies were graced by the allure of the Air India saree pleat.

So, the next time you board a flight, remember the timeless elegance of Air India’s iconic air hostesses—their attire a blend of tradition, modernity, and sheer grace.

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