Brit Fashion Bits: Come Fly with Vivienne Westwood, Ascot gets a new look & Downton gets a fashion line


The women's uniform, courtesy of Soo Hyun Hong, and the men's uniform, courtesy of the Vivienne Westwood team.

The women’s uniform, courtesy of Soo Hyun Hong, and the men’s uniform, courtesy of the Vivienne Westwood team.

What does a designer do on their off-season from fashion week? Design airline uniforms…obviously. Dame Vivienne Westwood joins the ranks of fellow designers Julien Macdonald, Balmain, Pucci and Halston and teamed up with Virgin Atlantic to redesign the companies famed red uniforms, a collaboration that will run across all areas of Virgin and last 10 years. In a unsurprising move, Westwood has gone for what she calls a “futuristic look”, combining her love for 1940’s couture and Savile Row tailoring. Sustainability was first and foremost, with all uniforms being produced using recycled materials. Crew bags will also be recycled, using canvas, roadside banners, leather cutoffs, and recycled brass in collaboration with the International Trade Center. Uniforms for pilots will be unveiled later this year.



In a move that has dress wearers cheering and saggy trouser afficianados reaching for a belt, Ascot has released a series of guidelines they hope will return fashion at the event to the standards of old. The rules include banning fascinators within the Royal Enclosure and forbidding anyone (even you Prince Harry) from wearing strapless dresses. A Style Guide has also been released along with the rules and tickets, using models to demonstrate appropriate fashion. And if the pictures just don’t pass the message along, there will be what I can only deem the “PC” version of the fashion police, “dress code assistants” on hand to give out ties and fascinators to anyone who breaks the rules.


Lady Sybil, Lady Mary and Lady Edith in Downton Abbey. Photo: Carnival Films

Lady Sybil, Lady Mary and Lady Edith in Downton Abbey. Photo: Carnival Films

Last but certainly not least, in the “I’m really not surprised” category, we have Downton Abbey, who, according to NBC, will be getting extensive merchandise this year… a weary notion for die-hard fans to be sure. Fashion, home ware, furniture, wallpaper, you name it, they are concocting it…and I’m sure without Lord Grantham’s knowledge too. It is not yet known whether the lines will be available to purchase in the UK. Well, I don’t know about you, but *I can’t wait to slip into my lady Mary gown, sip on a cup of Mrs. Patmore approved tea, flutter my eyelashes into a Cybil certified mirror, and write my love on Crawley-crested stationary.

*Denotes large amounts of sarcasm

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