Zac Posen Brings High Tech (And Anti-Microbial) Glam to Delta Uniforms

Delta x Zac Posen -Publicity -H 2016
Courtesy of Delta

Fashion meets function in the designer's newest project.

A year after Zac Posen announced he had been tapped to design Delta's uniforms, the red carpet fave is ready to show the world what he's got in store for the airline.

On Tuesday Posen unveiled the outfits with a fashion show in Atlanta, where he showed a collection that will be worn by more than 60,000 customer-facing Delta workers, including flight attendants, customer service agents, cargo agents and technicians.

To modernize the uniforms, last updated in 2006 by L.A.-based designer Richard Tyler, Posen first had to understand the needs of the airline's employees. After job shadowing and focus groups, he found that the technical specs of their clothing needed to be much improved.

One reason? Flight attendants get spilled on a lot.

Posen, who put Claire Danes in a light-up fiber-optic dress for the Met Gala, sourced a number of innovative technical materials for his high-flying designs, including stain release fabrics, fabrics with anti-microbial finishes, and water-resistant and wind-proof nylons. 

The color scheme — a mix of hues Delta describes as passport plum (dark purple), cruising cardinal (bright red) and groundspeed graphite (deep gray), with accents of skyline slate (gray with an azure tint and traveling thistle (pastel purple) — was the final touch in modernizing the exclusive range.

While flight attendant uniforms can seem stuffy, impractical and stuck in a sexist past, Posen, whose creations have also been worn by Katie Holmes and Viola Davis, tells The Hollywood Reporter  — he wanted to design uniforms "that appear polished" but also "allow [employees] to perform the necessary tasks required by their job."

For female flight attendants and customer service agents, that includes V-neck dresses, peplum sweaters, skirt suits and swing jackets that allow for movement; for their male counterparts, there are three-piece suits, crew neck sweaters and Delta logo-printed ties. Posen also emphasized the Delta logo (also known as the widget) throughout the collection. 

"Every single employee is proud to work for Delta and wants to look their best on the job even after a 14-hour flight, which was one of our main reasons for pushing to get the best technical fabrics for the new uniform," Posen says.

A select group of 1,000 employees will start wearing the uniforms in December and into early 2017. Based on their feedback, adjustments will be made accordingly before the Delta team wears the uniform worldwide in the first quarter of 2018.

Adds Posen: "I have always been an avid traveler and flying has always been a synonym of glamour and adventure." (Sky) high fashion indeed.