Josh Condon's The Art of Flying – published by Assouline in January 2016 – tells the story of commercial aviation, from its belt and braces beginnings to today’s fractionally owned fleet of sleek private machines, circling the globe 24/7 to power business and entertainment.
Drawing on a rich seam of archive imagery – including a captivating cover by Wallpaper* cover artist and illustrator Jean-Philippe Delhomme – the book revisits the classic chic of 1930s glamour, when flying meant a head for adventure as well as heights, through to the heady swirls and miniskirts of the pop-infused 60s and the more radical future concepts that continue to tantalise. It’s also the story of glamour lost then found, with an eye for the details: like Olympic Airways’ ten-course meal, or Air India’s elaborate Maharajah service, complete with gold-bedecked 747s.
The aircraft’s allure as a platform for art, fashion, architecture and design continues to entice creative collaboration and bold new ideas.
VistaJet – with whom this book has been collaboratively produced – have perhaps more than most to inject some of this elegance back into the industry. One would have thought that the act of aircraft chartering wouldn’t need much to spice it up, but in truth even this most high-end mode of travel was suffering from being sliced and diced to endear it to accountants and shareholders, stripping away the veneer of sophistication and replacing it with a sheen of unquestionable efficiency. VistaJet want both. Thomas Flohr’s company has always kept a weather eye on its image, and his appointment of Nina Flohr as creative director has helped the service leap to the upper stratosphere of private aviation.
This unashamedly aspirational book celebrates the best of life in the air.