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Cabin crew are renowned the world over for their polished looks and smart uniforms. In fact some airlines have very strict criteria on how their crew must look before they even achieve an interview for a position. Among them, thanks to quirky advertising campaigns, Virgin cabin crew have long been perceived as among the most glamorous. Not satisfied with this reputation, the airline's owner, Richard Branson, has now forged a relationship with world famous designer, Vivienne Westwood, to have his staff's uniform redesigned.

Westwood has long been recognised as one of the world's biggest names in fashion design and an icon of British design. Part of her charm however, is her distinctly 'eccentric' taste and personality. Among her fans she can count royalty including the Duchess of Cornwall.

Westwood and Branson have forged a long term partnership that will see the designer give Virgin Atlantic's staff uniform a total makeover. The move may have come as a surprise to some with the airline's bold, red uniform already being so synonymous with the brand.

Details released have suggested that the new look will play to Westwood's love of classic British retro styling with nods to 40s haute couture cuts for the women. The iconic red won't be lost, but uniforms will promote the desirable hourglass figure of the forties. The men's uniform will be reminiscent of the work of Saville Row tailors. They will wear a deep burgundy shade.

Branson and Westwood announced their partnership to the media last week as they posed for photos. The airline's chief suggested that the 10 year old design of the current uniform was due for an update as other airlines were imitating their design. The two British icons felt perfectly suited as both enjoy 'challenging norms'.

Westwood has long been public about her passion for the planet and so in developing the new uniform environmentally friendly fabrics have been source. She has also incorporated to the programme the use of recycled bags for ground staff which have been made in Nairobi using recycled materials as part of the Ethical Africa Programme.

Virgin Atlantic has consulted their staff throughout the programme and it is thought that the new uniforms will be worn by around 7,500 staff members including airline crew and Virgin Holidays staff. The first glimpse airline passengers will get of the uniforms will be in July this year when the first trials will be taking place. As well as being stylish the uniforms must also be practical and meet the demands of the job. These trials will ensure the final design does just that.

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