Virgin Atlantic's iconic scarlet suits over the last 40 years

The ladies (and gents) in red! As Virgin Atlantic announces gender-neutral uniforms, FEMAIL looks back at how the airline’s iconic scarlet ensembles have evolved over the last 40 years

  • Virgin Atlantic has announced it has made its iconic red suits gender-neutral
  • The company has become famous for its glamorous staff since its launch in 1984
  • Several famous British designers have had their turn designing the red suits 

Virgin Atlantic has claimed it will ‘champion individuality’ after announcing gender-neutral uniforms for its cabin crew members.

As the airline announces male cabin crew staff can wear skirts and female staff can wear trousers as they take to the skies, many have welcomed the liberal approach to the company’s dress code.

The airline has also teamed up with RuPaul’s Drag Race star Michelle Visage in a bid to ‘reflect the diversity of its workforce’ and ‘offer its people a fluid approach to its red and burgundy uniforms, meaning LGBTQ+ colleagues will be able to choose either the red or the burgundy uniform, depending on which best reflects themselves.’ 

Over the years, the ladies (and gentlemen) in red have become central to the image of Virgin Atlantic, with its cabin crew always dressed to the nines on flights.

Here, FEMAIL takes a look at the Virgin Atlantic uniforms over the last 38 years, from when the company was founded in 1984 to the present day.

When Virgin Atlantic first took to the skies in 1984 its uniform was designed by 23-yerar-old Arabella Pollen – and only the ladies wore red, with the men in grey

In the early 1990s, the Virgin Atlantic uniform was given its first overhaul when Elizabeth Emanuel designed the tailored, single-breasted blazers and skirts

Two female cabin crew members wear the Elizabeth Emmanuel uniforms while eating ice creams in the 1990s

In 1994, a green Virgin Atlantic uniform was launched for the cabin crew member in charge of recycling on flights 

Richard Branson celebrates the airline’s non-stop service from London to Shanghai and poses for a photo with a model dressed in the Emanuel cabin crew suit

Virgin Atlantic cabin crew members pictured in the early noughties, wearing the red suit with a v-neckline and the red and purple scarf introduced by John Rocha in 2004

Richard Branson poses with airline staff in 2007 as they wear the red suits and black patent shoes designed by John Rocha

Richard Branson (centre, in a pilot’s cap) pictured with cabin crew and pilots outside a Virgin Atlantic plane in 2009, with the red suits and scarves designed by John Rocha

Debbie Harry of Blondie wears the Virgin Atlantic red blazer at a launch party of the new uniforms which marked 30 years of the airline in 2014

The sustainable red suits designed in 2014 by Dame Vivienne Westwood used yarn made from recycled plastic bottles 

Businessman Branson poses with two cabin crew members dressed in the Vivienne Westwood designs in 2014

In 2022 Virgin Atlantic has announced staff will be able to choose whether to wear the red or burgundy uniform, with trousers also available for the red option

Michelle Visage, best known for being a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race, has teamed up with Virgin and says it is her ‘job’ to be an ally and friend to the LGBTQ+ community

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