Friday, April 17, 2009

Jetsonian Fashions

Tomorrow, the missus and I fly the friendly skies, so I decided to do my Saturday posting a day early, (and apologies in advance for no postings this coming week.) 

It was this impending sky voyage that got me thinking, and reminded me of an ad I saw in a copy of LIFE magazine, (published in December of 1965. I got that issue because it  hit the newsstand on the day I was born. Pretty narcissistic, eh?)

Anyways, the mid sixties were right in the grip of an awareness of the dawn of the future. The U.S./Soviet Space Race was well and truly underway, the Boeing 707 had only recently become the first commercial “Jetliner,” and television sci-fi was running rampant, (with The Jetsons, Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, Dr. Who, and, of course, Lost in Space, among others.) 

Also in the mid sixties, stewardesses, (no, it’s alright, they were still called stewardesses back then!), were still much more than air hostesses, they were sex symbols, (much the way many chicks view firemen nowadays,) and they dressed accordingly. Fashions were designed specifically for these women, that were stylish, sexy and DAMN! bright in the psychedelic colors!

“Not models! REAL stewardesses! 

“Dig that crazy footwear!”

And since such emphasis was placed on the physical appearance, the fact the the covered jet bridge arm for passengers to board planes was not as common as the jets meant that stewardesses had to walk passengers out to the tarmac to board via staircases. A mussed-up hairdo would have been the result and an occupational hazard like that simply would not do. Hence the bubble, (see the stewardess in the lower left modeling this so happily!)

“Note the “BRANIFF AIRLINES” Jet in the background.”

Or here, in one of my favorite pictures in the entire magazine!

“Simply Awesome.”

Sadly, the “Jetway” became ubiquitous enough to make the bubble obsolete. Sexism and sexual awareness teamed up with political awareness and “stewardesses” were no more, replaced by the more androgynously-garbed “flight attendants,” and the Jetsonian age ended with the cancellation of Star Trek and the end of the Space Race.

As I board my U.S. Airways 757 tomorrow, I will be longingly thinking about these pictures and air flight of yesteryear. My wife, Cheryl, however, has expressly forbid me to holler out any Austin Powers impersonation in a request to “Bring on the sexy stewardesses, baby!”

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