Photography book captures the elegant dress code of bygone air travel

Come Fly With Me, published by Rizzoli, is an eclectic curation of photographs spanning decades and departure lounges. Will it inspire your travel outfit, when countries go green on the Covid-19 travel list?

Left, joan Collins with Louis Vuitton cases and right, Prince in a suit and sunglasses
Left, Joan Collins, London Heathrow, 1989, Dennis Stone/Shutterstock. Right, Prince, London Heathrow, 1989, David Parker/Alamy Stock Photo
(Image credit: press)

In its heyday, flying was an ultra-chic affair. The glamorous era of air travel in the 1950s and 1960s conjures up dress codes, lobster and steak served on crisp white tablecloths complete with clinking china, and a gentle overdoing it on the cocktail trolley, which rolled down the softly carpeted aisles with a reassuring frequency.

Now, a new Rizzoli-published photography book, Come Fly With Me, pays homage to these bygone days with an eclectic curation of paparazzi pictures of celebrities dressed in their airport best, including Joan Collins, Naomi Campbell and Prince.

black and white photo of moahmmed ali in a suit holding a briefcase

Muhammad Ali, London Heathrow, 1967. Pictorial Press Ltd/Alamy Stock Photo

(Image credit: press)

black and white image of mick jones and marianne faithful standing in an airport

Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull, London City, 1969. William Lovelace/Stringer

(Image credit: press)

‘It is the diversity which fascinates me about flying attire,’ says author Jodi Peckman. ‘People have their own ideas about what works for travelling by air. You see everything from the “decked out’” head to toe in designer fashion to the grubbiest attire. My pet peeve is seeing people barefoot in flip-flops.’ Her edit, spanning several decades, captures The Rolling Stones in their off-duty finest, and Muhammad Ali, Dean Martin, and Frank Sinatra in fastidiously neat, sometimes three-piece, suits.

Peckman, former photography director and later creative director of Rolling Stone magazine, set simple criteria for the included images. ‘To be included in this book, it had to be a great photograph, first and foremost,’ she says. ‘It also had to be compelling to look at. The second most important thing is the subject – who would people be most intrigued seeing and who represented the era best.’

It remains to be seen with what verve we re-embrace air travel, post-pandemic, although Peckman anticipates an eventual return to normality. ‘The airplanes I have been on in the past month have been at full capacity and all the passengers seemed as they were pre-pandemic,’ she says. Will her own airport look be a stylish ode to the glory days? ‘My travel style leans toward the grubby I'm afraid. I need to be super comfortable.’

Black and white image of Dolly Parton in a suit doing a kick

Dolly Parton, London Heathrow, 1976, Bettmann

(Image credit: press)

Black and white image of paul and linda mccartney with their two children

Paul and Linda McCartney, London Gatwick, 1971, Central Press/Getty Images

(Image credit: press)


Come Fly With Me: Flying in Style is published by Rizzoli

Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels.