Aer Lingus to let female cabin crew wear trousers for first time

Irish airline to unveil new uniform designed by Louise Kennedy on Wednesday

Flying high

Wednesday sees the launch of Louise Kennedy’s new uniforms for Aer Lingus, replacing her last collection from 1998. All details are being kept under wraps until the unveiling, but we do know that one of the big changes for the female cabin crew will be trousers for the first time. Also, blue rather than green may dominate the colour of the uniforms, but all will be revealed on the day.

Aer Lingus has a long and proud history of using Irish designers for cabin crew uniforms, beginning in 1945 with Sybil Connolly, who designed a military style brown suit, calf length skirt, long blazer and hat for the first air hostesses as they were known then. Two years later, the first green uniforms were introduced, and in 1958 Irene Gilbert used green and orange fleck tweed suits with a lemon blouse and gloves.

Neilí Mulcahy’s 1963 uniform was a three-piece outfit in navy blue and green check in Donegal tweed from Magee. Gilbert was back again three years later introducing mini-skirted green suits and a Jackie Kennedy style pillbox hat. The uniform was redrawn again by Digby Morton in 1970 with a green pinafore dress, and the following two designs in 1975 and 1986 were both by Ib Jorgensen. Paul Costelloe introduced summer and winter versions in 1989 and 1990, and in 1998, Louise Kennedy created the existing uniform, which after more than two decades has been the most enduring.

 Benetton in Arnotts

After the collapse of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa in Italy in 2018, Benetton’s image suffered a huge blow. The calamitous event threw light on Autostrada, the management company controlled by the Benettons, from which they have made huge profits. In an effort to restore its reputation, Benetton (newly stocked in Arnotts) has announced that it will be using 100 per cent sustainable cotton by 2025 – organic, recycled or sourced from the Better Cotton Initiative.


Veteran designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, now creative director of the company, is charged with reinvigorating the brand “to produce an ultra-modern pop vibe that screams creativity”, according to the press release - which incidentally misspelt the name of de Castelbajac. The new range of 100 per cent merino wool jumpers and cardigans come in a technicolour range of solid colours from pink, blue, yellow and grey to navy and black, with round, V-neck and polo necks. Costing €49.95 and €59.95, they represent some of the best value around at the moment.

 Elliott’s looks

Louise Elliott, knitwear designer at the Donegal company Fisherman Out of Ireland, is known for her playful reinterpretations of the Aran sweater. Her current collection has many variations on the theme, one being a sleeveless grey and white Aran with horizontal patterns, another with criss-cross cables and a ribbed polo neck in wool/cashmere. But most eye-catching of all is a cable wrap top with buttoned side that can be worn over a shirt or sweater giving extra comfort and style – it comes in six different colours, from oatmeal and pearl grey to celery and