LONDON, England – Virgin Voyages, the new lifestyle brand that is shaking up the travel industry, has unveiled pieces from its stylish new uniform collection designed by maverick British fashion designer Gareth Pugh. The collection was showcased in a star-studded event during London Fashion Week.
The event at London’s Royal Opera House featured a live surprise performance by Christina Aguilera, dressed by Gareth Pugh in original designs featuring the capsule collection’s signature hues of red and black.
“People are at the heart of all of our Virgin companies and when our people feel their best, they help make guest experiences the best they can be,” said Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group. “We want Virgin Voyages’ crew to be the happiest at sea and making sure that they feel comfortable, confident and stylish is a big part of that experience. Pugh and the Virgin Voyages’ team have worked hand-in-hand to bring to life what will soon be the most eye-catching uniforms on the high seas.”
A two-year project in the making, Pugh, widely considered the enfant terrible of the British fashion scene, joins Virgin Voyages’ Creative Collective– an illustrious line up of designers, artists, and producers, including the likes of Tom Dixon, Roman and Williams and Mark Ronson, among others, who are collaborating with the company to transform how life at sea can look and feel.
The uniform collection pairs Pugh’s high-fashion modernist approach with Virgin Voyages’ design ethos of the modern romance of Sailing, which embodies a love of the sea and the glory and sophistication of the heyday of the ocean liner with a contemporary yacht-like style. The collection features a distinct combination of structure and fluidity and includes a wide range of looks from slick razor-sharp tailoring to relaxed pillow-case tunic shirts– referencing the early days of British punk, and more.
“For this project, we were really allowed to push the boundaries, and to redefine the idea of what constitutes a uniform. We ultimately wanted to make everything about it modern, luxurious and desirable — to allow the entire crew to look and feel like a million dollars, in keeping with the rest of the experience,” said Pugh.
The collection allows for most crew to have a range of looks to choose from both day and night, and also breaks with cruise traditions by having no epaulettes stripes for officers, no ties and no waistcoats.
Putting a twist on the iconic red high-heel worn by Virgin Atlantic, many of Pugh’s designs will be paired with the Mulberry, red sneakers made by San Francisco-based PLAE. The gender neutral, PLAE sneakers are intended to playfully contrast Pugh’s designs for a cheeky yet elevated look true to the Virgin Voyages spirit. The Mulberry shoes were custom-designed for comfort and versatility- specifically to allow crew to be on their feet both day and night.
Befitting of Virgin Voyages’ commitment to sustainability, PLAE’s shoes feature eco-friendly lining sourced from coffee grounds through sustainable technology and are manufactured in PLAE’s fair labor factory using water-based glue and renewable materials wherever possible.
The uniform collection reflects input from crew and Sir Branson at each step of the design process. In anticipation of the company’s launch of its first ship, Scarlet Lady, next spring, Virgin Voyages partnered with sister-brands within the Virgin family in diverse roles around the globe to test the uniforms to ensure that the final designs would support a variety of job functions, climates and body types.