From what I gathered from TV programmes and magazine features, they could speak different languages, travelled a lot and got to wear futuristic uniforms (often accompanied by cute hats...) created by the best fashion designers in the world.
Italy had a long history of fashion designers working for different airlines, and, in the past, this aspect of the job definitely contributed to fuel many young girls’ dream of becoming a air hostess one day.
I admit, though, that my fascination with air hostesses wasn’t actually fuelled by the chance to wear designer clothes (despite it was rather difficult for a young girl to resist to Emilio Pucci's colourful uniforms and helmets), but by the fact that I saw hostesses as a spaceship crew that, youthful and futuristic, landed on earth in colourful uniforms.
Images of the 1967 International and Universal Exposition, or Expo 67, held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, reinforced my childish dream of futuristic hostesses.
Indeed the girls from the different pavilions sported amazing uniforms – many of them accessorised with very desirable pillbox hats – that incorporated some references to the architectures and colours of the pavilions where they worked while also referencing current trends.
Designer Michel Robichaud came up with a light wisteria ensemble, tri-coloured hats and a white coat with a rocket space-shaped hood for general Expo 67 hostess outfits; Jean Louis Scherrer wrapped the hostesses of the French Pavilion in silver lame; Pedro Loredo designed the Mexican hostesses’s suits taking inspiration from traditional costumes and, while there was an almost militaristic edge in the grey suits of the German hostesses, that clashed with their orange accessories, the girls at the United States pavilion wore A-line navy uniforms inspired by the most popular trends of the time and designed by Bill Blass.
Believe it or not, the uniforms of the girls working in some of the pavilions ended up causing fashion havoc: it was for example the case with the Mary Quant-inspired mini-dresses of the UK stewardesses that influenced a raise in the hems of the other girls’ uniforms.
The colours, inspirations and architectures of the Montreal Expo 67 exhibition came back to my mind after finding by chance this souvenir scarf at a vintage market in Italy (for €0.50).
I found this scarf rather interesting because, while all the other souvenir scarves from the Expo feature illustrations of the pavilions, this one includes photographs and architectural drawings in typical 60s postcard colours.
The photographs are arranged around the Expo 67 logo, designed by Montreal artist Julien Hébert and featuring two pictograms representing two human figures linked together and repeated in a circular shape to symbolise friendship around the world.
The scarf includes images of the following pavilions: Air Canada, Quebec, Canada, Ontario, Unites States, USSR, Israel, France, Germany plus a picture of the Heart of Expo and a picture of the Habitat 67 housing complex designed by architect Moshe Safdie.
The main theme of the Expo, “Man and His World”, was based on Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s 1939 book Terre des Hommes (Wind, Sand and Stars) that recounted the author’s flying adventures and featured his thoughts about the world and his dreams and hopes about the future.
The Expo featured 90 pavilions with futuristic and scientific exhibits inspired by the main theme.
The US pavilion featured a geodesic dome designed by Richard Buckminster Fuller while the Soviet Union's space age pavilion ended up being the most popular one and attracted at the time 13 million visitors.
It’s difficult to decide which is my favourite pavilion included in the scarf, each building has got something futuristic that I simply love.
I guess I just like the scarf because it somehow taps into the current trend for digitalising images of buildings and interior designs – as seen in some of the prints of Ralph Chado Rucci’s Spring/Summer 2010 collection and of Alberto Marani’s Autumn/Winter 2010 designs, while it also satisfies my obsession with futuristic stewardesses from the 60s wearing uniforms that featured some kind of architectural reference.
Besides, after the "Man and his World" exhibition was over, the buildings on Île Sainte-Hélène and Île Notre-Dame were abandoned and the site was incorporated into a municipal park, so the scarf is somehow unique since it shows how the pavilion looked when they were still standing.
There is also a fashion and film connection in this scarf (yes, I admit it, this is becoming a rather unhealthy obsession…): after the Expo was over, many pavilions fell apart and, looking like the ruins on some sort of abandoned planet, they were used as the sets for different films such as Robert Altman's Quintet and Battlestar Galactica (the ruins of Paradeen City in the “Greetings from Earth” episode - first clip in this post, unfortunately it doesn't feature any ruins, but it was the only one I could find from this episode) while stock images of the French and British pavilions were used in the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century series (second clip, again it doesn't feature any clips of ruins, but plenty of futuristic yet cheesy space age uniforms...).
It’s magically crazy where a souvenir vintage scarf with an architecturally futuristic theme can take you, isn’t it?Member of the Boxxet Network of Blogs, Videos and Photos Member of the Boxxet Network of Blogs, Videos and Photos Add to Technorati Favorites Lijit Search