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Martin Grant is about to board the Flying Kangaroo.
Australia's national airline Qantas announced Thursday that the Paris-based Australian is the new Qantas uniform designer who will be responsible for a new wardrobe for the company's 12,000 cabin and ground staff in 13 countries, to be rolled out in 2014.
Although Grant's name is familiar to many in the fashion business — and he was the subject of a solo retrospective at the National Gallery of Victoria in 2005 — ironically he has a much lower profile back home than the designers he beat to the new, 10-year Qantas contract, including Collette Dinnigan.
After originally launching his label in his native Melbourne in 1982 — at the age of 15 — Grant has spent 22 years living abroad, 21 of them in Paris, where he launched the Martin Grant label in 1992.
Grant has garnered a reputation for his sophisticated dresses and tailoring and his fans include Barneys New York, Saks Fifth Avenue and a raft of celebrities, including Cate Blanchett and Lee Radziwill, the latter a front row regular at his Paris shows.
Grant, who will oversee the tenth redesign of the Qantas uniform since the company's launch in 1920, is not the airline's first European connection. Yves Saint Laurent and Emilio Pucci have designed past versions with incumbent Peter Morrissey taking over the design reigns in 2003. In collaboration with the Balarinji Design Studio, Morrissey introduced an indigenous Australian print to the uniform for the first time — the 'Wirriyarra' boomerang print.
"As an Australian, I'm proud to be working with such an iconic Australian brand. It will be wonderful to see the Qantas teams wearing my design across Australia and in cities all over the world" said Grant – who, nevertheless, will not be seeing the uniforms in his adopted hometown, as Qantas does not fly directly to Paris.