Airfrance 90 years of elegance. Story by RUNWAY MAGAZINE. Photo Courtesy: AirFrance.
Crafted from the amalgamation of Air Orient, Air Union, Société Générale de Transports Aériens, the Compagnie Internationale de Navigation Aérienne, and Aéropostale, Air France soared into official existence on October 7th, 1933. Since that historic day, the airline has been steadfastly building its legacy, championing the quintessential French art of travel across the globe. Today, Air France stands as a paragon of elegance and sophistication, offering nearly 1,000 daily flights to over 200 destinations, bolstered by a formidable fleet of more than 240 aircraft.
In the illustrious year of 2023, Air France proudly celebrates its 90th anniversary, a testament to nine decades of unwavering dedication to technology, innovation, and in-flight comfort. This remarkable journey encapsulates 90 years of transcendent travel experiences, refined dining, avant-garde design, haute couture, artistic expression, and architectural finesse. Since its inception, Air France has unfailingly championed the cause of French excellence, a certain “je-ne-sais-quoi” that the world associates with France, all manifested through an exceptional travel experience that elevates elegance to new heights.
In homage to this relentless pursuit of excellence and its ambition to remain at the forefront of evolving trends, Air France proudly showcases its unparalleled expertise to the world. A stunning collection of original dresses, artfully designed to encapsulate the airline’s storied history, will grace the window displays of Galeries Lafayette in Paris from September 28th to October 10th, 2023. This unique exhibition promises to grant Air France unprecedented visibility, ensuring that everyone can partake in this perpetually evolving French legacy.
Unveiling 90 Years of Elegance
To breathe life into 90 years of elegance, Air France presents a collection of five iconic dresses, each representing a hallmark of the airline’s identity: aircraft and technology, uniforms and fashion, iconic posters showcasing its expansive network, fine dining and exquisite tableware, and the world of design and architecture. Each dress extends an invitation to explore these themes that have allowed Air France to continually deliver excellence throughout its different eras, often pioneering innovations ahead of its time.
In the creation of these original dresses, Air France has joined forces with Xavier Ronze, the head of costume design workshops at the Paris Opera Ballet. This collaboration has produced designs inspired by iconic artifacts that have left an indelible mark on the company’s history, blending historical significance with modernity—a poignant symbol of Air France’s commitment to embodying the best of both the airline and the broader realm of French expertise.
Air France Takes Center Stage at Galeries Lafayette
In a natural choice befitting its celebration, Air France has selected the prestigious Galeries Lafayette, a fashion mecca nestled in the heart of Paris, to showcase this exceptional dress collection. From September 28th to October 10th, 2023, these dresses will retell the airline’s legendary history and its unceasing dedication to high-flying elegance through twelve exquisite window displays. These dresses are elegantly complemented by an array of vintage Air France memorabilia and highlights from the airline’s contemporary offerings, underscoring 90 years of in-flight comfort, legendary aircraft, iconic uniforms, exquisite dining, and groundbreaking design.
In the heart of Paris, Air France has embarked on an innovative journey to share its heritage freely and effortlessly with visitors from all corners of the globe. Visitors have the opportunity to revisit their cherished memories of traveling with Air France or to become part of its enduring legend for the very first time.
Joining the Legend
Within the store, Air France is unveiling pop-up shops that offer a range of specially crafted and reissued items exclusively for this anniversary celebration. Air France is introducing an array of affordable and limited-edition models, spanning from old classics to contemporary aircraft, along with a collection of comfort kits, postcards, baggage tags, and notebooks adorned with the signature of 90 years. The company also breathes new life into mythical items like its iconic vintage travel bag and renowned posters.
In a commitment to uphold and promote French savoir-faire, Air France has partnered with select luxury French brands, including Vanessa Bruno, Delsey, Bernardaud, Brun de Vian-Tiran, and Le parapluie de Cherbourg. This exclusive collection is solely accessible at Galeries Lafayette.
For the first time in its storied history, Air France extends an unprecedented opportunity to visitors—the chance to acquire original tableware designed by the renowned painter Jean Picart Le Doux, once featured in its La Première and Business cabins from 1966 through the 2000s. The proceeds from the sale of these exceptional items will be devoted to the Air France Foundation, a beacon of support for children worldwide over the past three decades.
Fashion Takes Flight at Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann
Throughout this jubilant anniversary period, Air France extends a gracious invitation to visitors to witness real fashion shows, an artistic collaboration with Galeries Lafayette that traces the path of 90 years of French elegance. Models adorned in uniforms mirroring those of pilots, cabin crew, airport personnel, and mechanics will grace a dedicated section of the store, recounting the airline’s illustrious uniform heritage from its inception to the present day. From the inaugural “barman” outfits to haute couture masterpieces bearing the signatures of legendary designers like Christian Dior, Cristóbal Balenciaga, and Christian Lacroix, this fashion show offers a unique journey through the diverse stylistic eras that have shaped Air France.