Zac Posen’s long-awaited collaboration with Delta Air Lines is finally implemented this month.
You know him mostly for his eveningwear—gowns worn by the likes of Reese Witherspoon and Jessica Chastain—but New York City-based designer Zac Posen can now add uniform designer to his professional résumé with the unveiling of his collaboration with Atlanta’s hometown airline, Delta. It was a slightly different process than the A-list designer was used to, with Posen noting that “the most important part of my design process, and what made me feel most connected to the project, was speaking to the employees about their responsibilities and lifestyles. We had several meetings with groups of employees to critique and discuss the produced uniforms; their feedback was essential in finalizing the design.”
Fabrication was key: “We focused on using fabrics that were water-repellant, had the ability to stretch and were going to be extremely comfortable for long hours of wear.” A long way from redcarpet gowns, yes, but a welcome one for Posen, who spent quite a lot of time in research. The next step was “shadowing employees, doing research on aviation and sketching my ideas,” he says.
Not just customer-facing members of Delta got an overhaul—the Below Wing departments had Posen’s touch added as well, in collaboration with Lands’ End. “They’re an absolute integral part of Delta and are a necessity in keeping passengers safe and operations running smoothly,” he says. Again, shadowing was important to Posen to make the uniforms authentic: “It was a wonderful way to not only understand the different functions, but also to get to personally know so many people.”
The uniforms were then put to the test, with meetings held with groups of employees and “rigorous fit clinics.” All aspects of the outfit were redesigned and reconsidered, from the aprons to the caplets, but Posen’s favorite? “I was thrilled to add a trenchcoat to this collection.”
As for what it means for Posen personally to have 60,000 employees worldwide in his designs, the end result is more than just a feather in his cap (or in this case, wings on his lapel): “Delta is such an iconic American aviation company, and to be able to collaborate with them was an honor. This project has taught me so much and will always carry a special place in my heart.” Leave it to Mr. Posen to bring back sartorial swagger to the friendly skies.
Photography by: DELTA AIR LINES