High style: Air stewardess uniforms through the years offer snapshot into golden age of travel

The height of fashion: One man's collection of 1,000 air stewardess uniforms offer snapshot into golden age of travel

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UPDATED:

17:48 GMT, 1 April 2012

Once synonymous with the golden age of travel, air stewardess uniforms have changed a lot over the years. And no-one knows that better than Cliff Muskiet.

The KLM Royal Dutch Airways purser, from the Netherlands, has been collecting uniforms past and present for the past 30 years.

His collection now comprises over 1,000 different ensembles from 426 airlines, all of which are catalogued on his website, uniformfreak.com.

The outfit worn by Caledonian Airways

The outfit worn by Caledonian Airways, left and Bankok Air, right

The outfit worn by Caledonian Airways, left and Bankok Air, right

The outfit worn by United Airways

The outfit worn by United Airways, left, and Singapore Airlines

The outfit worn by United Airways, left, and Singapore Airlines, right

Pan American World Airways, commonly known as Pan Am

Pan American World Airways, commonly known as Pan Am, left, and right Czech Airlines

Pan American World Airways, commonly known as Pan Am, left, and right Czech Airlines

He told CNN: 'There has always been something glamorous about aviation and airline fashion. These two go well together.'

From an early age, he reveals, he was obsessed with air travel. He was given his first uniform in 1980 by one of his mother's friends, and from that point on, he was hooked.

'When I think of an airplane, I
automatically think of a stewardess,' he said. 'When I think of a stewardess, I
automatically think of a uniform. When I think of a uniform, I want to
have it.'

He explained that the collection demonstrates how fashion has changed over the years, citing Seventies designs from Japan Airlines, El Al and Iberia as his favourites.

'I love the 1970s psychedelic patterns and color combinations: yellow, red, orange, purple, green, white, blue,' he continued. 'Every color was used and everything was possible.'

Indeed, fashion plays an important part, and many airlines have commissioned designs from top fashion houses in a bid to set themselves apart.

An Emirates uniform

An Emirates uniform, left, and Braniff International Airways, right

An Emirates uniform, left, and Braniff International Airways, right

Air Uganda uniform

Air Uganda uniform, left, and British Airways

Air Uganda uniform, left, and British Airways, right

Over the years, we have seen Giorgio Armani create uniforms for Alitalia, Nina Ricci design for Cathay Pacific and Christian Lacroix create uniforms for Air France.

But, Mr Muskiet adds, not all have proved successful.

'Yves
Saint Laurent, for example, has made beautiful clothes for women, but
the uniform he designed for Qantas in the 1980s was so horrible,' he said.

And of course in many cases, the fashion factor is far less of a consideration than sartorial symbols that describe the nation the airline represents.

Explaining this concept, Mr Muskiet discusses the uniform of the United Arab Emirates' national carrier.

'Look at
Emirates, they wear a Western uniform and the color is horrible,' he told CNN. 'But the
red hat with veil is eye catching.

'The veil is that national identity
as well as the color of the uniform: beige is the color of sand.'

An Air France uniform

An Air France uniform, left, and Air New Zealand, right

An Air France uniform, left, and Air New Zealand, right

Ethiopian Airlines

Ethiopian Airlines, left, and Southwest Airlines, right

Ethiopian Airlines, left, and Southwest Airlines, right