No matter how advanced society becomes and how muchtechnology takes over, there is a pleasant sense of comfort about keeping up with traditions and customs. Pakistan’s very first national flag carrier airline, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) understands this beautifully. Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) came into being in 1951, when on 25thMay, the executivesin-charge ordered threeLockheed L-1049C Super Constellation four-engine aircraft as the new operator’s initial equipment. PIA flew its first service with the Super Constellation on 07 June 1954 on the route linking Karachi and Dacca (now Dhaka), which were the main cities of the country’s western and eastern halves, of which the latter is now Bangladesh. On 1 February 1955 the airline flew its first international service, between Karachi and London via Cairo.

The very first PIA Air Hostess uniform from 1954 to 1956, represented threads of history and monarchy. It was a uniform that comprised of gray tweed jacket, skirt, blouse and a matching cap. In 1956 to 1960, the uniform was jointly designed by well-known Pakistani dress designer LailaShahzada and ChausieFountainer, an American woman of French descent who as cabin crew trainer was with PIA on a 5 year deputation from Pan American World Airways. The uniform  exudedstyle in white shalwar and dupatta, set off by a green shirt with white cuffs and collar.  The entire look was paired by green cap, black shoes and bags for the hostesses.

Pakistani fashion dilettante FerozeCowasji, then took up the mantle in 1960-1966, to design the uniforms by tweaking the 1950s uniform designed by ChauseeFortaignelle. He abbreviated the slim folded dupatta,after which, in 1966, Pierre Cardin, a renowned French fashion designer, came up with the legendary fawn colour uniform for summer and moss green uniform for winter. The uniformthen consisted of a short, easy fitting ‘A’ line tunic, slim-line trousers and imaginatively foldeddupatta. The uniform became an instant hit, the slim-line trousers immediately were dubbed as ‘PIA Pajamas’.

Soon after, British dress designer Sir Hardy Amies, best known for being royal dress maker to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of United Kingdom created the uniform that came in 1975. The purple and magenta kameezes had embroidered fronts, with green shalwars and pretty printed dupattas inspired by the folk wear of Pakistani village women. Teamed with black bags and smartly styled comfortable black leather sandals, these bright uniforms introduced a cheerful note on board PIA and were used from 1975 to 1986.

Pakistani dress designer Mrs. NahidAzfar then introduced moss green and gold rose for summer and burgundy and PIA green for winter as the uniform for 1986 to 2003. This soon morphed into RiffatYasmin’s three colouredshalwarkameez (Mustard, Sea Green and Rust) uniform with floral patterned dupatta.

PIA was also the first airline in the world to incorporate local attire as its uniform. Later other airlines like Air India, British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC), Malaysia-Singapore Airlines (MSA) followed suit. And to continue this tremendous legacy of having national and international dress designers for designing of uniforms of PIA flight attendants, 16contemporary designers includingMaheen Khan, Shamaeel Ansari & Sonya Batla, Amir Adnan, Nida Azwer, Ismail Farid, Omer Farooq, Fahad Hussayn, Maheen Karim, MishaLakhani, SaniaMaskatiya, Yasmeen Sheikh, Shamoon Sultan of Khaadi, Ali Zeeshan and HSY will be revealing the new uniform at a Fashion Show held by Catwalk event management & Productions. The show will endeavor to display uniforms by these 16 notable designers which capture modernity, yet retain an aura oftradition. The official Hash Tag for the event is #StylePIA.