Take a face mask, adorn it with jewels or attach it to a long, flowing neck scarf. What have you got? A pandemic precaution, yes, but also a luxury fashion statement that can cost anywhere from 75 to 160 euros ($87-185).
As mask-wearing becomes part of everyday defences against the coronavirus, Belgian designers are turning medical masks into chic accessories.
Brussels-based stylist Aude De Wolf has created a “scarf mask” that uses linen, cashmere and other high-quality materials to combine masks with luxurious shawls.
“I was inspired by my mother because she doesn’t like her neck,” De Wolf, who has already sewn some 1,500 free medical masks for hospitals, told Reuters from her workshop.
“You can slip the mask off when you’re in the car and slip it back on in the shops … You could say it’s a luxury product,” she said of the masks, which she is selling for 160 euros ($185) each.
Haut-couture garment and accessory maker Olivia Hainaut has turned her skills to creating masks with sequins, jewels and other flamboyant touches, such as silk flowers. They sell from 75 euros, depending on the work and materials involved.
“These are not masks for everyday wear, perhaps for a party or a wedding … the idea is to bring some joy to something that is very sad,” she said of the pandemic.