For Formula One weekend, the glamorous models wore specially designed jumpsuits by the New York-based designer
Fashion designer Prabal Gurung dresses the Etihad Grid Girls
As a finishing touch to this years F1 weekend, Etihad approached fashion designer Prabal Gurung to design the outfits for the Etihad Grid Girls – a squad of women who add a little glamour to the petrol and engine oil of the track.
Proud of its link with fashion, Etihad partnered with WME/IMG last year as a long-term sponsor for the fashion industry, and this year supported 17 international fashion weeks.
Launching the new uniform on November 24 at the Paddock Club, the designer himself was in town to show off the new looks. In a break from the expected, Gurung chose to dress the women in jumpsuits, highly functional attire that neatly draws together the heritage of both F1 and aviation. Drivers in motorsports, of course, all wear fire-proof jumpsuits behind the wheel, while early pioneers of aviation, including the first women to ever cross the Atlantic, such as Amelia Earhart, wore flying suits.
Gurung has updated the look in chic black with sharp shoulders and aggressive zip detailing.
“Of course Etihad has a lot of dealings with fashion already, though Runway to Runway, and I like their approach a lot," said Gurung. "There are things in life that come your way that you are not expecting, but you just have to say yes to. And it has been the most amazing experience.
“Collaborations can be challenging, but Etihad has been very open, even when I wanted to make this a jumpsuit. Last fall, when I designed this, I was inspired by women of the 1940s, and how they had to take on the roles of men during the war. I like the idea of strong shoulders, and I have always played with the idea of feminism and femininity, and always been a big advocate for equality for women."
He adds: “I always like to create things that look great, but with a deeper meaning. I think that is important, so it had to be a jumpsuit. There is a feminine aspect to it, it is fitted and powerful, but at the same time, it is modest. It’s important to be respectful of a region's culture.”
As part of the launch, Etihad had model Chanel Iman wearing Gurung's design on the track.