Face Masks Are Getting A Fashion-Forward Twist At NYFW

·3-min read

On Imitation of Christ-wearing skateboarders in LA, on models in Anna Sui’s dollhouse, on crystal-embellished beings in the land of Libertine — everywhere we look during the first digital New York Fashion Week are face masks, each one more stylish than the last. Not that we are entirely surprised: Face masks are one of this year’s most used accessory, after all. So much so that, over the last few months, designers have taken to vamping up the protective items with gemstones, bows, flowers, and chain accessories. (Louis Vuitton is currently selling a $961 (£800) LV Monogram face shield.) So, naturally, when Zero + Maria Cornejo debuted a quilted, navy blue mask on Monday, we knew it’d be one of many to come.

The number of face masks appearing during an almost entirely virtual fashion week is proof that PPE has also become a mode of expressing one's sense of style and identity — one that's as frequently included in collections as other accessories like crochet bucket hats and Teva sandals (Sui). (It also serves as a reminder that we should all continue to wear masks to reduce COVID-19 spread.)

And, with collections from some of fashion’s most popular mask designers — including Collina Strada, Christian Siriano, and Alice + Olivia by Stacey Bendet — still to come, we have a feeling the best is yet to be seen. For now, click ahead to see how designers have approached this year’s most essential fashion item thus far.

<h2>Anna Sui</h2><br>In Anna Sui's dollhouse, models wore face masks, including those of the <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-gb/2020/08/9954762/kate-middleton-floral-face-mask" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:floral variety" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">floral variety</a>. (Whether or not Kate Middleton will wear one is yet to be determined.)<span class="copyright">Photographer: Jackie Kursel.</span>

Anna Sui


In Anna Sui's dollhouse, models wore face masks, including those of the floral variety. (Whether or not Kate Middleton will wear one is yet to be determined.)Photographer: Jackie Kursel.
<h2>Zero + Maria Cornejo</h2><br>Not only did this N.Y.-based label design masks to protect wearers in style, but they also did so sustainably. This mask, in particular, was made using what the brand calls "zig-zag quilting," a method of quilting made from organic cotton and a renewable, 100% biodegradable cellulose acetate that is manufactured with minimal emissions, because who wants to be breathing in potentially harmful materials all day?<br><span class="copyright">Photo: Matthew Kristall.</span>

Zero + Maria Cornejo


Not only did this N.Y.-based label design masks to protect wearers in style, but they also did so sustainably. This mask, in particular, was made using what the brand calls "zig-zag quilting," a method of quilting made from organic cotton and a renewable, 100% biodegradable cellulose acetate that is manufactured with minimal emissions, because who wants to be breathing in potentially harmful materials all day?
Photo: Matthew Kristall.
<h2>Libertine</h2><br>Designer Johnson Hartig may have used the past 20 years of Libertine as his inspiration for the spring '21 collection, according to <em><a href="https://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/spring-2021-ready-to-wear/libertine" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Vogue" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Vogue</a></em>, but clearly he didn't forget about the future — designing a selection of protective face masks to match.<span class="copyright">Photo Courtesy of Libertine.</span>

Libertine


Designer Johnson Hartig may have used the past 20 years of Libertine as his inspiration for the spring '21 collection, according to Vogue, but clearly he didn't forget about the future — designing a selection of protective face masks to match.Photo Courtesy of Libertine.
<h2>Imitation of Christ</h2><br>For its long-awaited return to NYFW, LA-based brand Imitation of Christ highlighted the women of skateboarding, a sport typically dominated by men. In the campaign video, female skaters can be seen riding and performing tricks throughout the California metropolis, all the while wearing IOC garb and masks, thus proving that you can, in fact, <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-gb/2020/07/9932275/breathable-face-mask-for-running" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:wear a mask while you exercise" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">wear a mask while you exercise</a>. <span class="copyright">Photo Courtesy of Imitation of Christ.</span>

Imitation of Christ


For its long-awaited return to NYFW, LA-based brand Imitation of Christ highlighted the women of skateboarding, a sport typically dominated by men. In the campaign video, female skaters can be seen riding and performing tricks throughout the California metropolis, all the while wearing IOC garb and masks, thus proving that you can, in fact, wear a mask while you exercise. Photo Courtesy of Imitation of Christ.
<h2>Oak & Acorn</h2><br>For spring '21, Harlem-based sustainable denim brand Oak & Acorn used its slot on the NYFW calendar to continue the conversation around systemic racism in America. Between images of protests and messages about denim's role in American history, the brand's presentation video flashed to images of models, including one wearing a denim face mask painted with the word "FREE" on it. <span class="copyright">Photo by Peter Osborne/Courtesy of Oak & Acorn. </span>

Oak & Acorn


For spring '21, Harlem-based sustainable denim brand Oak & Acorn used its slot on the NYFW calendar to continue the conversation around systemic racism in America. Between images of protests and messages about denim's role in American history, the brand's presentation video flashed to images of models, including one wearing a denim face mask painted with the word "FREE" on it. Photo by Peter Osborne/Courtesy of Oak & Acorn.

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