At an intimate launch held in the prestigious Paddock Club at Yas Marina Circuit, the designer said: “We are so excited to design this uniform with Etihad. Etihad’s foray into fashion is truly an innovative break from tradition. Similarly, we wanted to challenge the conceived notion of how Grid Girls are typically dressed. Together, we are proud to create a jumpsuit with a strong shoulder and our signature architectural approach—something a bit unexpected, yet still feminine and empowering.”
The new uniform, which will be worn by Etihad Airways’ cabin crew during the three-day event, will also be seen on TV by hundreds of millions of motorsport fans worldwide.
IMG Model Chanel Iman was chosen to unveil the black jumpsuit through a video model diary and photo shoot, shot on location at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi and in front of an Etihad Airways F1-branded Airbus A380. The images exemplify strength, control and sophistication – all pillars that align with Prabal Gurung and Etihad Airways’ vision for a new uniform. Gold zipper piping and spike zipper pulls speak to Prabal’s signature ‘femininity with a bite’ approach to design.
Prabal Gurung, whose eponymous label was established in 2009, grew up in the Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, and moved to New York to complete his studies at the prestigious Parsons The New School for Design.
The collaboration with Prabal Gurung is the latest initiative by Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways to become the fashion industry’s preferred airline. The designer was chosen to work with the airline due to his strong association with entertainment, including film, television and theatre, and has become a leading voice for fashion and feminism, deeming Prabal the perfect fit for the project.
Last year, Etihad Airways struck a global agreement with WME | IMG as a long-term partner of the fashion industry connecting the airline with the fashion capitals of the world. The agreement is the first multinational, multi-year airline sponsorship supporting the fashion industry.
Patrick Pierce, Etihad Airways Vice President Marketing Partnerships, said: “This new collaboration for the F1 Grid Girl uniform is part of our ongoing commitment to the fashion world in which Etihad Airways is now intrinsically part of. Working with Prabal has been great – he is not only a perfect fit for the airline but for creating the new uniform for one of the largest events in this region. We are lucky to have him here today.”
The influence of fashion spans a huge audience, from mass fashion consumers to the global fashion elite of designers, models, photographers and editors – all of whom Etihad Airways aims to convert into loyal customers. Runway to Runway is an exclusive travel programme tailored specifically to the international fashion community, including editors, designers, models, photographers, stylists, students of fashion, bloggers and fashion industry executives, plus the global community of fashion devotees. Visitors to F1 will be encouraged to sign up and enjoy benefits such as airport lounge access and priority boarding and check-in.
This will be the airline’s second year sponsoring 17 international fashion weeks, further elevating its position alongside some of the world’s most stylish brands.