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Armani Starts Luxury Flight Suit Line

armani flight suit, some rights reserved, http://flickr.com/photos/pingnews/290220727/New York, NY – Fashion guru Giorgio Armani has shocked us all once again, this time with a Spring ’09 runway show centered on luxury flight suits.

Mr. Armani, the internationally acclaimed mogul of the Armani fashion empire, is the first fashion designer to offer a line of tailored flight suits. The suits are a remarkable blend of practicality and edgy fashion. Disregarding the “gaudy camouflage or sterile brown” favored by most flight suit manufacturers, Armani’s flight suit is in all black, made to resemble formal evening wear more than a workman’s outfit. His inspiration, says Mr. Armani, comes from working on Christian Bale’s costumes in this summer’s blockbuster hit The Dark Knight.

“The scene in which Batman airlifts in and out of China called for a flight suit, but we wanted to make sure it fit with the dark, yet classic look that Bruce Wayne has throughout the film. I had such a good time making that suit that I thought it would be good to develop it into a whole clothing line. We are trying to make a flight suit that caters to the discerning, impeccably dressed man. We ask ourselves: what kind of flight suit would Bruce Wayne want? What kind would James Bond wear?”

The suits may be high fashion, but they are still built for the functions required of them. Layered over the tailored one-piece suit that forms the base of the outfit is a survival vest, MA-2 torso harness and inflatable life preserver. The suits come fully equipped with water bottle, sun glasses, shroud knife, flares, a whistle and a flashlight. For military contracts, an aircrew helmet and oxygen mask are included, while for non-pilot clients, the helmet is modified to be a motorcycle helmet with a fake oxygen mask.

“The flight suit is the ultimate in mix-and-match,” says Rachel Herringbone, a spokesperson for the company. “For the military, all of the pieces they need are there and it is a fully functional flight suit. But for the more casual wearer — the kind of bold trend-setter that is normally attracted to Armani — there are almost endless options of which pieces to wear or not wear. If you’re not going to need a knife clipped into one of the side loops, a cell-phone will fit perfectly. With so much pocket space built into the suit, there is really no need to ever bring a bag and our customers really appreciate that because it spares them other options such as the ‘man purse,’ which are not masculine enough for them. This suit is all about being masculine.”

The new line was a big hit with the fashion crowd, who admit to being “totally in love” with anything new and original, especially from Armani. “As long as they’re supposed to love it and it looks crazy, they will generally show some enthusiasm,” explains Inez Guzman, a spokesperson for the fashion scene. Given that the runway crowd is so easily won over, what then becomes interesting is the warm reception the suits have had among real pilots, specifically military pilots.

“I guess this isn’t normally what I mean when I say I’m a test pilot,” says Neil Brown, an air force corporal who was part of a test group for the Armani flight suit, “but I liked the [flight suit]. People used to dress with dignity in the past…but today’s uniforms are so bare bones that it gets to be a drag. Believe it or not, flying an F-14 all the time can get to feel like just another job. When I’m wearing a tie underneath all that stuff on my flight suit, it’s not really about how good I look, but about how good I feel.”

Armani has secured a contract with the American, Italian, French, and Iraqi armies and will be making uniforms for all top officials.

“To be honest, we weren’t exactly expecting this positive a response,” says Herringbone. “Of course we are always looking for new niche markets to fill, but I admit that prior to this project we had underestimated how willing the military-industrial complex is to pour money into anything they feel like.”

The other big market for the flight suits will likely be celebrities, with rumors abounding that figures ranging from Johnny Depp to Sarah Palin have already placed orders, so expect the coming fashion months to have a decidedly military edge, especially if the hawkish McCain-Palin campaign wins. For anyone interested in pre-ordering their own Armani flight suit, the Armani website has further instructions. The flight suits will hit shelves sometime in March.

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