This season’s mask-haves: you have to wear ’em, might as well ...

Ideas

This season’s mask-haves: you have to wear ’em, might as well look good

No longer what ‘other’ cultures do, they’re a brag-worthy accessory, with attendant frills and aesthetics

Lisa Armstrong

Back in early February, which seems like the mists of a forgotten time, if you’d suggested the surgical mask would become the sartorial marker of Western fashion, circa 2020, in the way the ruff instantly identifies a portrait as late Tudor or Stuart, or crinolines define everything about the Victorians, you’d have been met with snorts (the kind that note derision, not viruses).

Who could have envisaged that, with the same time-warp speed at which everything happens now, WhatsApp groups of mommies in middle-class suburbs would be discussing whether geometric patterned masks are cooler than floral ones? Two months ago, I didn’t know anyone outside the Far East who didn’t think surgical masks were something “other” cultures did. Yet now, governments are making them mandatory.

Bang on cue, this week I received a floral-patterned cotton mask from the Belgian label Bernadette – not so long ago fashion gifts took the shape of scarves or fabric-covered notebooks...

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