Elle Macpherson flies in to Sydney to unveil new Virgin Blue uniforms

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A friend who works on an airline (no names mentioned) told me that he once served Elle Macpherson on a first class flight and that the supermodel insisted on speaking only in French, with a translator required for general conversation between she and air crew. Perhaps it was just a one-off and Elle was cramming for a French exam, practising the langue at any given opportunity, but whatever the case, French was far from the fashion icon’s lips this morning when she appeared at the Westfield Sydney CBD precinct to reveal the new uniforms for British-based airline, Virgin Blue.

Said Elle, “Being English, Richard [Branson] could easily have commissioned a British designer to create these uniforms so it’s great to see he’s given an Australian the job.”

That Australian is Project Runway winner, Julie Grbac, who has created a sharper and more streamlined look for both female and male Virgin Blue staff, 60 of whom made their way down the runway in place of professional models. They looked pretty spiffy, too, in their new hues. Gone is that very sad shade of tan, and in its place are red jackets teamed with red skirts or black pants for the girls (with optional royal purple scarf), and black pants and slacks for the boys. The pilots, too, received a smarter wardrobe makeover, with Elle looking smashing dressed as one herself, complete with sturdy cap.

Said designer Grbac, “To have my designs seen by millions of people every year is such an amazing opportunity. I worked closely with [the brand] to create the ultimate design that would not only look sophisticated and have that wow factor, but be comfortable and of superior quality.”

The remainder of Virgin Blue staff get to try their new uniform on tonight.

Elle Macpherson congratulates designer Julie Grbac.
Photography by Antonino Tati