Fun, Festive and Fantastical
One of fashion’s prime tasks is to inject aesthetics into what looks banal and boring. And it has done exactly that with masks. Masks have become our new sunnies, a utilitarian fashion accessory!
Fashion’s romance with masks is not new. The most imaginative masks have been popping up on global runways, adding an element of mystery, quirk and fantasy to creations.
The pandemic ignited imagination like never before, as brands visualised masks in their most jaw dropping versions. The queen of quirk, Lady Gaga, wore the most dramatic masks for her appearances at MTV Video Music Awards, including an LED one!
One also saw celebs rock the most fantastical face masks on the red carpet at the Venice film festival. Tilda Swinton showed us that masks are going to be important with her sculptural masks by artist James Merry.
Closer home, gemmologist and jewellery designer Anand Gupta of Tara Sri Jewellers has come up with bejewelled mask made of 18-carat yellow gold, spruced with diamonds. It took almost 440 man-hours to create the museum-worthy mask. “I have taken inspiration from our national flower, the lotus. This is an ornamental mask which can be worn over a custom designed cloth mask,” he says.
The designer says that he can’t imagine brides wearing surgical masks. “And there’s no way they can do without masks. Wedding is a very special day for the bride. I came up with this idea so that the bride can fulfil her dream of looking her best and also remain safe,” he says.
Masks are here to stay for a long time, it seems. Baroque, vintage inspired lacy ones, cheerful florals, fierce animal prints, bejewelled, party-worthy masks or ones that promote traditional crafts such as phulkari — there’s a mask out there for everyone. Equal parts fashion and function, masks are also a showcase of our individuality — they tell others who we are, what we stand for.
“We don’t know for how long we’ll be wearing masks, so let’s use it as our new face, give out the message we want, share our thoughts, express our personality,” says designer Rina Dhaka.
Stylist Yatan Ahluwalia suggests either matching or contrasting the mask with the dominant colour of your look. “Men can go for either plain or printed ones and women have the option of embellished masks,” he says.
But however fashionable the mask is, ensure that it meets the necessary safety standards,
Photos: Jasjeet Plaha/HT
Text, styling, fashion masks: Shara Ashraf Prayag
Makeup & hair: Naina Arora
Outfits: Gaurav Gupta and Shantanu & Nikhil
Models: Devika Das & Anita Sharma