Emilia Wickstead is designing Air New Zealand’s new uniforms and we are retraining as flight attendants

A victorian eyelet button cuff handing you your mid-flight CookieTime? We’re in.

Ever wanted to dress head-to-toe in Emilia Wickstead, but found your payslip lacking the requisite number of zeroes, or your ring finger the requisite engagement ring?

Now, there’s a chance for us normies to get in on the action. And it actually involves being paid to wear the NZ-born, London-based designer’s exquisite pieces. All you have to do to expand your sartorial horizons is become an Air New Zealand flight attendant.

Following much speculation as to who would design the new Air New Zealand uniforms – not updated since Dame Trelise Cooper was chosen to kit out the crew in 2011 – it was announced today that Wickstead would be the next to make the airplane aisle her runway, starting in 2024.

“I could not be prouder to have been selected as Air New Zealand’s next uniform designer. This is a true passion project for me; one that further connects me with my homeland Aotearoa, and the community and places that I love,” shared the designer in an emotive video announcing the collection.

“New Zealand is my home and this is one of my proudest moments” she says. “Every design detail will have meaning. Small little details that you might not even recognise will play on New Zealand’s heritage.”

Emilia Wickstead looks, Kate Middleton and a model

So, what can we expect?

While few clues have been released, there’s no doubt that the impeccable tailoring, nipped-in waists, artful draping and modern, conservative lengths that have landed Wickstead a favourite among the English royals will form a solid foundation for future high flyers.

A broderie-buttoned cuff handing you a Mainland cheese and cracker pack? A structured cape swishing behind a basket of boiled sweets? Perhaps a Kate Sheppard-esque collar accessorised with an Air NZ flight crew lanyard? Or a precocious pillbox hat to take its wearer from a mid-layover strut-off against the Emirate’s flight attendants, to a Buckingham Palace Spring Garden Party. It’s all fair game.

It’s also a fashion/aviation love story that readers of AirMail might have seen coming. In an October 2022 interview, Wickstead dished on her love for the airline, which she holds in high esteem.

“My approach to the uniform centres around a deep respect for New Zealand’s cultural heritage. First and foremost, it is inspired by people. I’m a big believer that clothing can be transformative, uplifting and empowering, and my hope is that the new uniforms will instil a sense of pride and purpose in Air New Zealand’s incredible, world-class team.”

The new uniforms will be officially released in late 2024, gently phasing into the work wardrobes of 5000 customer-facing staff including pilots, flight attendants and ground crew. In the meantime, Air New Zealand is looking at ways to sustainably phase out its existing uniforms in such a way that minimises waste-to-landfill.

Until then, those of us with the capital can continue to get our Emilia Wickstead fix at exclusive New Zealand stockist Simon James. The rest of us will contentedly amuse ourselves with the new spin on ‘passenger princess’ that this collaboration affords.