Diverse style fills Aloha Airlines’ history
Aloha Airlines celebrated its 60th birthday Wednesday, proclaimed "Aloha Airlines Day in Hawaii," with the unveiling of new artwork at its Honolulu gates and by whisking well-wishers on a trip back in time with a fashion show of flight attendant uniforms throughout its history.
Several local designers were called upon over the years to bring style to the skies over Honolulu. Flight attendant Vaune Kino and Greg Chilson, manager of flight attendant training, narrated the show, a snapshot of how Aloha's style changed over the years, often reflecting fashion off the streets:
» 1946: Aloha started as an unscheduled air service flying charters between islands. As Trans Pacific Airlines -- the Aloha Airline, the little startup had to show it meant business, and dressed its flight attendants (back then, stewardesses) in no-nonsense uniforms of navy blue wool gabardine.
» 1959: When wool proved too hot for summer, the airline introduced a seasonal alternative, "Lemon Freeze." The simple one-piece dress was adorned with Asian-inspired frog buttons and cooling slits on both sides, reflecting the cultural diversity of the islands.
» 1963: Crews donned tailored blue suits and crisp white blouses by Hino's. A jaunty cap inspired by Jackie Kennedy's pillbox hat completed the classic look.
» 1965: As travel to Hawaii increased in the years following statehood, efforts were made to share our culture. Stewardesses strummed ukuleles and danced the hula while dressed in kimono-style muumuus in hues of blue and green.
» 1969: Hippie chic captured the nation's attention, and Aloha wasn't immune to flower power, which filled the sky via Aloha's Funbirds. Matching the sunny orange of the planes' paint jobs were pantsuits called "party pants," in fruity hues of tropical orange, hibiscus red and ilima gold. The first male flight attendants also took to the skies, dressed in crisp white shirts and pants, with a sash and kukui nut lei.
CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Lianne Flourney, a flight attendant for 40 years, wears Tori Richards multi-colored 1993 bird of paradise design. Flourney was also featured in Aloha's Funbird ads in the early 1970s.
» 1973: Miniskirts ruled on land, so it wasn't long before they found their way into Aloha's cabins. Designer Baba Kea used flower-power graphics on a cream background. The short skirts made it necessary to have matching bikinis, but Batman capes? Chalk it up to the experimental Zeitgeist of the era. Gentlemen wore dress slacks and matching flower-power aloha shirts.
» 1976: Baba Kea added the blue Hawaiian sky, clouds and rainbows to Aloha's flowers. The "Annie Hall" layered look, popularized by the Woody Allen film and his muse Diane Keaton, was popular. Reversible skirts made for a quick change of looks. Stewards kept it simple with dress slacks and aloha shirts, also referred to as the "leisure suit."
» 1979: The "Shirokiya look" was introduced. This sophisticated uniform showed off a geometric pattern in bright orange and royal blue. Long skirts featured high slits, and the Aloha flower logo was found throughout the pattern of the women's blouse and the men's aloha shirt.
» 1983: The new decade saw the introduction of "Waves in the Sky." The colors were teal and tan, representing Hawaii's beaches and sandy shores.
CRAIG T. KOJIMA /
Traci Omori, right, an Aloha flight attendant for 18 years, wears a navy blue suit that dates to the airlines beginning in 1946. Laniwai Lidstone, center, wears the "Lemon Freeze" summer uniform that debuted in 1959. Gail Estrella wears a tailored 1963 uniform.
» 1986: Baba Kea returned with a more subtle look. This time, slim-line skirts and slacks, paired with comfortable blouses, carried a color combination of deep orchid and soft violet on a heather taupe background.
» 1989: Designer Malia introduced the "Skyviews" pattern combining shades of pink and maroon in three-quarter-sleeve dresses, and scoop-neck short-sleeve blouses with slacks.
» 1993: Tori Richards created a multicolored bird of paradise design featuring purple, yellow and turquoise flowers. It was worn with solid navy blue separates for women and navy blue slacks for men.
» 2001: Tori Richards updated its predecessor with shades of green replacing purple.
» 2005: The Aloha Bird of Paradise in pale shades of blue brought the airline up to date, giving women attendants many choices of styles, including Mandarin blouses and solid blue and print dresses and skirts. Solid tops are enhanced with a matching print scarf. Meanwhile, the guys enjoy the simplicity of matching the print shirt with solid blue slacks.
Keep your eye on the skies to see what comes next.