NAC Golden Cloud uniform

The redesign of the National Airways Corporation (later Air New Zealand) uniform in 1966 was the first time that the airline had taken on a complete change of design and colour. It was first revealed in Europe in February 1966 where it was highly praised for its fresh design. 'Golden Cloud' was very carefully designed by Babs Radon designer Barbara Herrick and, while its loose-fitting line was a departure from her usual tailoring, it successfully achieved the ease of movement which the NAC staff required in their day-to-day work. The hostesses responded favourably to Barbara's design saying "We don't really think of it as a uniform – it's more like a smart suit." Barbara chose a distinctive golden topaz colour, designed into a three-piece suit, coat and hat, as the unusual shade complemented a wide range of skin colourings and set the New Zealand hostesses apart from the usual blues, greens and browns of airline uniforms. The fabric was produced at Wellington Woollen Mills, and the uniforms were made by Classic Manufacturing. The first blouses featured a small bow at the neckline with three decorative pearl buttons ran down from the bow. The blouses also had double cuffs with pearl cuff links supplied. The second rendition of the blouse didn't have the bow but had a mandarin collar with pleated front panelling. Both blouses were designed to be worn in flight, without the jacket. The hat was designed and manufactured by Plummers Ltd and featured a 9ct gold Godwit framed in a circle – NAC's insignia. The hat and breast badges were both designed by NAC staff. The first hat was fabric with rows of stitching to give it structure; the second version was made of felt. They were known as the 'Colman's Mustard pots'. Black gloves and a handbag were also part of the uniform, but jewellery, earrings and nail polish were forbidden.


Copyright: Text © Lucy Hammonds, photo © Air New Zealand
Credit: Photo from Archives NZ
Copyright: Text © Lucy Hammonds, photo © CC BY 2.0
Designer: Barbara Herrick
Maker: Made by Classic Manufacturing.
Manufacturing location: New Zealand
Garment type: Two-piece suit, blouse, coat, hat
Material: Wool barathea (suit, coat, hat)
Features: The cloth was dyed to a colour created specially for NAC, appropriately named the golden cloud.
Colour: Golden topaz
Label: Babs Radon (suit, blouse, coat), Plummers Ltd (hat)
Date: 1966-1970