Coronavirus: How fashion embraced designer masks
Matching face masks with every outfit? Meet French designer Marine serre, who showcased designer masks at the Paris Fashion Week recently
Coco Chanel once said, "Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening." There is considerable truth in that contention. Amid the global coronavirus outbreak, French designer Marine Serre showcased a collection of designer masks at Paris Fashion Week. If it's a case of fashion making a statement on real life, Serre is careful to separate the art. In a conversation with WKND, Serre talks about the design philosophy behind her creations.
How did you come up with the idea of a designer face mask? What was the intent behind showcasing it on the runway of Paris Fashion Week?
I started to design face masks three seasons ago for my Radiation collection back in FW19. I did it simply because big cities today are often very polluted, and as I am not driving at all and I always bike, I thought it was good for people and for the followers of the brand to be protected when they decide either to bike or to move around with other kinds of transportation or when simply walking in crowded cities that may be too polluted. At the time I started, not a lot of people were wearing masks, and I didn't want them to feel ashamed about doing so; I wanted to make them feel comfortable in choosing them. That is why I started. In general, I prefer to show the face and see the smiles of the people, but in some cases, I felt it was really needed as an item for protection.
Marine Serre (Photo: Chris Colls)
There are two aspects to a face mask - first and foremost is the safety, and then design. How have you married the two in these masks?
Since the Radiation collection FW19, the face masks became part of the brand's identity because of the protection that the mask gives and for the connection with daily life and practicality. At the same time, it should fit with your look, your suits and make you feel comfortable wearing it as part of your outfit.
What has the demand for these masks been like? Have you received requests from the UAE yet?
Since the beginning, the demand for our face masks has been good. There was a lot of curiosity and interest, mostly from the press but not a lot of you could see it out in the street. Of course, now after three seasons, people are more and more ready to wear the masks in the street and in their daily life. We did not record requests from the UAE market yet, but from all around the world, yes.
Has it been a concern for you that this new spin on face masks might just be seen as a marketing stunt pegged around a global crisis?
No, it has never been a concern for me as I started to design face masks three seasons ago for the reasons explained earlier.