Mask Moments on the Fall/Winter 2019 Runways and Beyond

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Masks appeared in many forms on the Fall/Winter 2019 runways. From air-filtering face masks to avant garde masquerade styles, designers highlighted the mysterious accessory, bringing intrigue and drama to the collections. The decorative nature of face masks connects to the sense of performativity that they convey. Historically, face masks have been used in religious and theatrical productions since the time of the ancient Greeks. They are used to conceal or alter one’s identity, adding to their air of mystery.

In fashion, Martin Margiela pioneered the use of face masks. The designer, who never made a public appearance during his career, highly valued his privacy. He began shielding his models from prying eyes, too, by creating custom-made jeweled masks that completely covered the models’ faces. Other designers such as Alexander McQueen, Thom Browne, and Viktor and Rolf also made their designs and sense of artistry take precedent by using masks to evoke mystery and drama. They simultaneously invite the viewer to look closer, trying to uncover what’s behind the mask, while also distancing the audience from the wearer.

Below, see how designers made masks a sartorial statement for the Fall/Winter 2019 runways, and glimpse some other iconic fashion week masked moments from the past.

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