Bankrupt Alitalia Introduces New Employee Uniforms… Again

Filed Under: Alitalia

Alitalia might be in bankruptcy and on perpetual life support, but that won’t stop them from looking fashionable. In-mid 2016, Alitalia rolled out new uniforms for their employees, which were inspired by Etihad. This was part of a larger rebranding for the airline. Etihad took over a bunch of struggling airlines, tried to make them look more fashionable, and was shocked when that didn’t lead to profitability. Who would’ve guessed?

Tiffany wrote about the uniforms at the time and thought they were retro and awesome-looking, and I quite agree.


While the uniforms may look nice, the issue is that apparently employees are finding them to be extremely uncomfortable. As a result, Alitalia has been working on creating new uniforms since late last year. We now know what these new uniforms will look like.

Alberta Ferretti unveiled Alitalia’s new uniforms today at the opening of Milan Men’s Fashion Week. Here’s how the new uniforms are described:

Alberta Ferretti has created a new uniform that is timeless and elegant, dedicated to the Italian airline’s land personnel and inflight crew, including a suit for men and a skirt suit and dress for women. The pieces are created in a seasonless lightweight fine gauge blue wool that is breathable to ensure comfort and allow movement during flights and all airport activities. The clothes are customized with satin gold buttons engraved with the “A” for Alitalia, and the women’s jackets are marked at the waist with a gros-gain ribbon in the Italian tricolor of the flag.

The outerwear includes raincoats made of cotton and waterproof nylon, for both men and women, finished with a removable lightly quilted lining.

The look includes cotton poplin blouses with pocket detail, foulards and ties in matching silk twill, leather gloves and wool knitwear. For the in-flight crew, Ferretti designed a vest and an Alitalia logoed jacquard apron style dress.

Alitalia says that they hope these uniforms combine practicality and elegance to ensure the well-being for all occasions and every season. Here’s what the designer of the uniforms and Alitalia’s chief commercial officer had to say:

“The idea of bringing creativity, elegance and the quality of our country around the world, aboard Alitalia, makes me very proud. I am happy to present this project during Milan Fashion Week in the prestigious official space of the Palazzo Reale in Piazza del Duomo”, says designer Alberta Ferretti.

“The collaboration with Alberta Ferretti brings prestige to Alitalia. The new uniforms represent the work of thousands of coworkers and colleagues who perform the very crucial of ensuring that passengers experience unique and high quality travel everyday. For this reason, we deem it necessary to guarantee the utmost comfort and well-being during their daily activities”, states Fabio Maria Lazzerini, Chief Commercial Officer and Revenue Management of Alitalia.

And here are the new uniforms:

I’m not really sure what to make of these. Alitalia’s previous uniforms were 1960s retro. These look retro, but not necessarily in a charming way, at least in my opinion. I don’t know. I’ll be the first to admit fashion isn’t my thing, but these sort of look to me like uniforms I’d expect to see at an airline that hasn’t changed their uniforms in about two decades.

James has written in the past about why it’s so difficult to design the perfect airline uniform. It’s tough to design a uniform that looks good on all shapes and sizes while also being comfortable. While I think most agree that Alitalia’s current uniforms look good, a lot of employees had issues with the comfort of them, and that’s a major problem.

As far as I’m concerned, the single biggest positive benefit from a uniform redesign is that it makes employees happy because they’re comfortable and proud to wear it. Clearly Alitalia’s old uniforms were stylish, but they weren’t comfortable. So even if the airline is struggling financially, it seems reasonable enough that they want to ensure their employees are comfortable. Here’s to hoping they’ve tested these sufficiently, so they don’t have the same problems that other airlines have had.

What do you make of Alitalia’s new uniforms?

(Tip of the hat to @elektrokid11)

  1. Hey Lucky,
    see? Alitalia is still there and the new gov’t is so inept they’ll just keep filling that sinkhole with countless Euros.
    So there’s still plenty of time to give AZ biz class another try… 😉

  2. It looks like they bought the uniforms from a BA garage sale and “spiffed them up” with some Oscar de la Renta scarves they found in the sale bin at Marshal’s or Sears perchance.

    Warms my tepid feelings to DL’s new purple numbers seeing how much worse Posen could have done.

  3. While Rome is burning, Nero is playing the fiddle. Replace Rome with Alitalia and Nero with Alitalia’s management. You get the point.

  4. These are heinous. They’d even look bad in the early-to-mid 80s, whence they seem to have been yanked and breathed back to a disastrous life. I feel for Alitalia’s employees.

  5. When you’re close to death, you can’t help but focus on the important stuff… #TacklingTheBigIssues

  6. The 2016 Retro uniforms were spectacular. The current new version is a whole lot nicer than that hot mess Delta has served up in purple spandex. Nice to hear they are using natural fibers for the most part and not poly. Looking forward to seeing these in person in September.

  7. Nope – no good. The women’s outfits are simply frumpy and the men’s suits are bad – unforgivable considering we are presumably talking both Italian tailoring and manufacturing. Okay the last uniforms may have been uncomfortable – that’s a major design fail in workwear – but they looked great. One thing you do expect of Italians is style. If they loose that then it’s all over (are you listening @Fonzi).

  8. Hmmmm…. well, the cut of the uniforms is at least attractive. But the women’s belts and scarves look as though they were inspired by Christmas ribbon and wrapping paper. As for the men’s tie, I swear I was issued one just like it, with one of my (many) flight attendant uniforms back in the 1970’s or 80’s.

    I absolutely DETESTED the uniform this is replacing,; those awful, clashing shades of burgundy, dark turquoise and pea green. Yuck! So I think this new look is an improvement. But really, Italy produces such fabulous clothes. And this is the best Alitalia could come up with? (Hopefully uniform wings and/or name badges, will add a bit of shine to these way too somber ensembles.)

  9. The only good thing about Alitalia have been their pretty crew uniforms, and even that is gone now.
    This airline is pure garbage, which is just sad.

  10. P.S. I think it’s just embarrassing for an Italian airline to introduce these unfashionable unforms.

  11. The beauty or hideousness of a uniform doesn’t matter if the person wearing it doesn’t care about whether serving the customer or the health of the firm.

    However I would like to eventually see a review of the new lounges before the whole airline goes arrivederci. At least they look nice.

  12. Times like this I wish the readers could embed GIFs in the comments section!

    Would be helpful for the AAB articles too :p

  13. “…uniforms i’d expect if an airline that hasn’t changed uniforms in two decades.”

    The new ones are classy, elegant and smart – this ain’t a drag show at the end with trashy colors and bling bling.

    Two big thumbs up to the new design.

  14. These new uniforms are at the very least a solid upgrade for the guys. I can’t imagine walking around in a green suit!

  15. I just think the cabin crew modeling the new uniforms looks much nicer than the delta ones. Not sure if they are hired models or Alitalia’s cabin crew though.

  16. why is alitalia concerned with the uniforms the people wearing the uniforms need to be changed OR at the least TRAINED the alitalia Inflight crew are HORRIBLE nasty they think they are pre modonna’s they are doing you a favor by serving you they are RUDE people and Im italian
    Alitalia SUCKS

  17. Everyone should look to Southwest for how to make a uniform comfortable and fun. How hard it is to call Land’s End or some such store and order a bunch of kaki’s or grey flannel pants and blue blazers. A few nice regular button downs and forget those hideous scarfs and belts on the women and I hate the green accent on the men’s blazers. Seriously, for a country who had all the famous fashion shows, how hard it is to come up with something everyone likes?

  18. Could Delta possibly buy the old uniforms second hand, and launch them here in the US ASAP?

  19. The old uniforms imposed by etihad were a nightmare for hostesses… The fabric was too heavy for airplane temperatures and the dresses were badly tailored. And the green and skin coloured stocking was a thing that no Italian stylish woman would wear… Etihad management of Alitalia was a disaster so they want to delete everything arabs have done. The old uniforms were designed by an unknown italian stylist who is famous only in Emirates. The new ones are designed bt Alberta Ferretti who is one of the most famous Italian stylists italy has.

  20. You should check Alitalia website to see their old uniform. Etihad Christmas style uniforms are totally out of place

  21. I really like them. Such a massive improvement on the horrid previous uniforms. Elegant simplicity, especially for the guys, and natural fibre hangs so much better.

  22. This is horrid. Your perceptions are right Lucky – the previous uniforms had a uniquely Italian character and joy about them. This is dated, dull and dowdy – I’d be very self-conscious wearing these as feel very frumpy!

  23. These look very 1980s retro.

    But they are probably cheaper. Standard corporate uniforms. All they had to do was buy custom scarfs and neckties, add piping to the men’s jackets, and give the women a decorative belt. That’s probably much, much cheaper than an outfit that is 100% custom.

  24. @vlcnc old uniforms haven’t a unique italian character. In Italy when Alitalia presented them, they were considered totally hideous and ridiculous. There were labelled The Christmas dresses… They weren’t Italian style for us italians… The green stocking was a style nightmare. Original 60s Alitalia uniforms were definitely more stylish than the red and green ones. The new Ferretti’s uniforms have been warmly welcomed from italian fashion journalists

  25. No worries, the Italian government will always rescue Alitalia, so they are not going to go disappear. And the current Italian government couldn’t care less about EU rules …

  26. They look extremely dated and straight out of the 80s. What was Ferretti thinking? And how did the Milan Fashion week endorse what is possibly the worst representation of Italian fashion at its flagship platform? Bizzare!

  27. a small local textile supplier near Malpensa airport is now on the verge of going bankrupt. He was told to keep a stock of 1 Mio EUR of uniforms and measure each and every single Alitalia employee (which means many of them were flown into Milan from Rome or other parts of Italy). The supplier, for whom Alitalia was by far the largest customer, has discovered about the new uniforms -made by someone else- in the news. Verdict: no communication and a dead stock.

  28. @Marco Dupré – To a non-italian they play up the look and feel of what people think of as quintessentially Italian. Airlines are international and often play off the brand of the country – the previous uniformsd did this amazingly well and we’re effective. You will see both BA and Virgin double down on their Britishness in different ways so it can be a result with some variance. The new uniforms look terribly dated, and don’t feel very stylish something that is associated with Italy’s brand. Whilst the previous uniforms got a mixed reception domestically (my partner is Italian and loved them), they were universally praised outside of Italy especially in branding circles where I work in. Italians have a very unique perception that is often completely detached from global trends so don’t alway know what works on the global stage which is crucial for an airlines branding.

  29. @vlcnc unfortunately Italy is different from what foreigners thinks. The old uniforms were just an unfashionable 60s joke: no woman in italy would wear green or red stocking even in the 60s or that pudding like hat… If you look at Alitalia website, historical uniforms (designed by monsters like Mila Schon, Armani and Balestra) were more similar to the new one. The old one were cheaply made in acrylic and designed by an italian designer unknown in italy. The new ore are in high quality fresh wool and designed by Alberta Ferretti, who is extremely famous worldwide. Italy is contemporary… Foreigners imagine it like we are still living in the 60s

  30. @Marco Dupré – Unfortunately whilst they maybe be made of quality fabrics they look so frumpy that doesn’t matter. The previous uniforms might not have been to everyones taste, but the new ones are universally just dated and ugly.

  31. @vlcnc it’s just a matter of taste. Here in italy old uniforms are considered uglier than the new ones. Newspapers praised the new uniforms, indeed the old one were derised for the colors, dresses and hats, more suitable for arab tastes, not Italian ones. I’m just telling what is happening in italy about new uniforms.

  32. @vlcnc during press conference Alberta Ferretti told that her design was influenced by the hostesses requests for the most suitable possible uniforms and that she had to rely with the low budget available. She decided to create a timeless and sober uniform but made with made high quality fabrics and with a tailored custom design. They are all made un Italy. The women’s old one were made in Romania…

  33. Practically alitalia was forced to change uniforms after the totally negative feedbacks the hostesses gave after one year use of the green and red uniforms. Fabrics were cheap and too warm, hats were useless and uncomfortable, dresses were too long and suffocating because they always had to wear them closing all the buttons. They indeed loved the old green and blue Mondrian uniforms they used for 20 years. Uniforms are work dresses so they should be comfortable and practical. The etihad imposed benotti’s design was a failure about it.

  34. @Marco Dupré I appreciate the practical issues with the old uniform – I just think the new solution is bad in all ways but materials. It’s not taste – ask any woman and they will tell you how unfashionable these are in 2018. I can appreciate the style of something even if it is not something I would personally wear. I think a good tailor would have been a better investment as a designer than a womenswear designer – they’re very different skills. As it is we have a used car salesmen look with poundshop Xmas tree decorations on top.

  35. @vlcnc next Friday i will fly alitalia. Probably live new uniforms will look better. The old ones live weren’t so good… The green and red patterns of the old dresses were more suitable for a train seat… Really! As i said before in italy old uniforms were considered horrible… Abroad they were more appreciated.

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