When it launched in October 2021, ITA Airways, Italy’s new national carrier, promised to bring a “100% Italian experience” to the skies.
And now, nearly eight months later, the airline has unveiled its new look, including new uniforms and food planned by Italian celebrity chefs.
The new look was unveiled alongside ITA’s three new long-haul Airbus A350-900s – the plane which is, according to the company, their “new ambassador.”
Sticking to their all-Italian pledge, the interiors of the A350 were styled by Walter De Silva, a car designer who worked for Fiat and Seat, before becoming head designer at Volkswagen. De Silva took his inspiration from the song “Il cielo in una stanza,” or “The sky in a room,” he said in a press release.
That means bringing blue inside the aircraft – but not the bright blue planned for ITA planes’ exteriors, but a more subtle, midnight blue. In economy seating, that blue becomes the base of the seat, with a sand-colored stripe down the middle. The colors are switched for “comfort economy” seats which have a little more legroom, and for business class seats. There’s a nod to the tricolore flag on the headrests, too.
For long-haul flights there will also be mood lighting depending on the stage of flight (boarding, take off, mid-flight, and meal times) as well as for sunrise, sunset and night time.
ITA plans to gradually upgrade its fleet from its current Alitalia aircraft to a fleet of new Airbuses, predicting that by late 2025, 75% of the fleet will be less environmentally damaging, new-generation aircraft.
Meanwhile, the uniforms – designed by Brunello Cucinelli – take a leap towards casual wear, with women able to wear white cap-sleeved T-shirts with sweater vests on top. A more traditional uniform, closer to the dark blue uniforms of Alitalia, is another option for crew. Women can choose between a skirt or pants, while the men’s uniforms pep up Alitalia’s navy suits with big gold buttons.
Fiona Sinclair Scott, CNN Style’s global editor, sees the new uniforms as a modernization of the classic flight attendant look.
“There was a time when air travel was synonymous with ultimate luxury, regardless of seat assignment. The uniforms and dress codes of flight attendants, who were predominantly women, were designed to exude glamour and femininity, perhaps at the expense of comfort for those staff working long hours,” she says.
“Today, travel is more commonplace and cabin crews are more gender-balanced. The culture of travel has changed and we’re undoubtedly seeing this reflected in uniforms.
“Workplace dress codes have relaxed in almost every industry so it’s not surprising to see the inclusion of a T-shirt in these new designs, for example. While the new designs retain some of the hallmarks of flight attendant-wear, they’ve been modernized with more casual styling such as the slightly cropped or turned-up trousers and the option of a boot for women.
“Brunello Cucinelli presented several double-breasted suits in his last two menswear collections and they’ve carried over into this line too.”
The uniforms will be rolled out over the next few months, according to the airline. ITA’s gradual introduction of new looks is down to cost-cutting measures for the airline which was born from Alitalia’s bankruptcy.
And then there’s the food. From June 2, intercontinental flights will serve meals planned by some of Italy’s best chefs, starting with Enrico Bartolini – the only chef in history to have been awarded four Michelin stars in one year.
Bartolini’s debut menu for business class includes pappa al pomodoro, the signature tomato-and-bread warm “pap” from his native Tuscany, and chicken flavored with Amalfi essences, like lemon.
Economy will see a “totally renewed menu,” while every item of food and drink on board will be an Italian brand or recipe.
In the future, that focus on italianità will see coffee served as an “experience” and wellness “unique experiences” on board. Whether that will include guided meditations, as several airlines already have on their in-flight entertainment systems, or full-on in-seat massages, as Virgin Atlantic used to offer, is not yet clear.
ITA’s gradual roll-out applies to its route map, too. It is launching routes from Rome to Los Angeles, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires this month.