Lucile Garner Grant, a trained nurse, was hired as TCA’s (Trans-Canada Airlines, renamed Air Canada in 1965) first flight attendant on July 1, 1938. Her duties included monitoring weather patterns, handling radio communications, devising food services and designing the first uniforms.
But as Ms. Garner explained in a 2013 interview (yes, she lived to be 102), nobody liked the colour. “They wanted the uniform to match the airplane interior, which was beige. And they didn’t want navy blue because that’s what the pilots wore. So I got a lovely wool gabardine in beige … and got an excellent tailor to make a lovely, lovely uniform … but nobody liked it. … By 1939, the uniform was navy blue, and then everybody liked it.”
Lucile Garner Grant and Pat Eccelston, first and second flight attendants.
More functional than flirty, the beige two-button gabardine suits were meant to “remind passengers more of the girl next door, rather than a femme fatale. Like trusty Girl Guides, they were always well prepared: their stewardess satchels were stocked with the unlikely combination of Alka-Seltzer, cigarettes and matches!
Lucile Garner Grant stands with TCA’s first president, James S. Hungerford.
ps…an Air Canada “flight attendant friend” told me he was being fitted this week for his new Christopher Bates designed uniform…to premier on all staff later this year!