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A global icon and one of the industry’s most instantly recognisable figures worldwide, The Singapore Girl epitomises Singapore Airlines’ tradition of world-class service and warm Asian hospitality – but here are five things you didn’t know.

1. Their uniforms are created by Parisian designer Balmain

Having made its debut as the signature style of The Singapore Girl in 1968, Pierre Balmain’s Kebaya is now a sense of identity for the flight attendants. Having hardly changed in its 51-year lifetime, the uniform consists of a fitted Sarong Kebaya that is made of cotton and is tailored and contoured to the body. Its ankle length prevents friction on emergency slides and provides warmth in the chilled airline cabin, while being able to be tied above the knee in case of emergencies.

The Singapore Girl doesn’t wear heels. The slippers designed by Pierre Balmain, ensure attendants can do their job in comfort.

2. Their rank is declared by the colour of their Kebaya

The colourful Kebayas worn by The Singapore Girl have an air of sophistication about them; though they are not created solely for fashion. Boasting four different colours—blue, green, red and purple—each attendant wears the appropriate colour for their rank. Even the rank of the male crew can be identified through the colour of the tie they wear, which match the colours of the Kebaya.

Starting at blue—which is the colour worn by stewards or stewardesses, the next level of rank is green, given to one Leading Steward or Stewardess per cabin. Red is worn by Chief Steward or Stewardess and only in First Class and Business Class cabins. Purple is worn by the highest rank, the In-flight Manager, who is in charge of all cabin crew and has the responsibility of liaising with the Captain for the safe management of the flight.

3. They attend a rigorous grooming and deportment class at Singapore Airlines Training Centre

Though the epitome of effortless perfection, The Singapore Girl (and guy) look doesn’t come easy. Cabin crew undergo a training program on grooming, make-up, hair and deportment. Everything is meticulously thought out—from the five approved hairstyles to the nail polish colour and the makeup palette.

The focus of makeup is on the eyes—as the lip is always red—and the training centre is where The Singapore Girl learns the appropriate colour for her skin tone based on colour cards.

Men are also provided with guidance as to their hairstyles, make up and the types of facial hair that is appropriate. Beards are a no, but a well-manicured and maintained moustache is acceptable.

4. They are make-up trained using Lancôme products

It might come as no surprise that Singapore Airlines use only the best products and considering their outfits are created by high-end designer, Balmain, it seems only fitting that the makeup they are trained with is of the highest quality. Enter the exclusive use of Lancôme products. Post training, the crew can use whichever makeup brand they prefer, as long as the colours match of course.

5. They are trained twice as long as any other airline attendants

Having been awarded best cabin crew service for 22 years running by Business Traveller (UK), there’s a lot more that goes into the making of The Singapore Girl and guy than grooming. “It’s all about tailoring your service, customising it, personalizing it to make sure it is a meaningful experience for your customer” explains Juat Fang Foo – endearingly called “Miss Foo” by all crew – Assistant Manager of cabin crew training. The extensive 14 weeks of training ensures they provide only the best service for customers, as well as being incredibly well trained in safety, high-stress events, and the de-escalation of high-intensity scenarios.

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