A signed sketch by the late Joy Stokes, designer of Gulf Air’s cabin crew uniforms in the 1960s and 1970s, was recently donated by her son Michael Stokes to the national carrier and now appears in the airline’s Gulf Air Falcon Gold Lounge at Bahrain International Airport.
Professionally trained in art and design, Stokes’ Gulf Air cabin crew uniform designs from the 1960s till the late 1970s, defined the look of the airline: from the turtle collar dress and pillbox style beret to the then revolutionary concept of outfitting both male and female cabin crew in trousers and the master-stroke adaptation of the Middle Eastern headscarf in chiffon flowing from a central pillow box cap. Today, a version of the original iconic headdress design is still worn by Gulf Air female crew – recognizable in airports around the world.
Commenting on Joy Stokes’ long reign as Gulf Air’s uniform designer Ahmed Janahi, Gulf Air Chief Commercial Officer said: “During her time in Bahrain, Joy made an indelible mark on Gulf Air’s history. Designing some of our national carrier’s first uniforms, Joy helped shape the ‘face’ of Gulf Air for many years. We are delighted to receive and showcase her original sketch in our popular Gulf Air Falcon Gold Lounge at Bahrain International Airport – helping us celebrate the immensely positive and enduring impact Joy made.”
Donating the cabin crew uniform design sketch to Gulf Air, Joy’s son Michael Stokes said: “Joy Stokes was inspired by the brilliant light & vibrant colours of Bahrain and the Gulf. She loved wandering in the souqs and markets of Bahrain where she could derive ideas for her designs and drawings. She shared her passion for Bahrain with her husband, Jimmy Stokes, a Captain with Gulf Aviation/Air who joined the airline in 1961. Joy would be deeply humbled &honored by the recognition that Gulf Air is providing to her in prominently displaying her original uniform design in the Gulf Air Falcon Gold lounge. As a family we are privileged and delighted by the enduring link with Gulf Air and Bahrain that this represents.”
Bahrain’s national carrier has regularly showcased its historic cabin crew uniforms at a variety of events both in the Kingdom and across the airline’s global network. Such events include, the Bahrain International Airshow (BIAS) where, in 2014, Gulf Air cabin crew members toured the Airshow grounds greeting visitors in an assortment of uniform designs spanning the different eras.