Lifting the Veil: The History of Face Masks through Music

Lifting the Veil: The History of Face Masks through Music

''Don't forget your mask!'' a parting phrase that has become too familiar for many of us. In the age of the pandemic, face masks are ubiquitous and an integral part of our sartorial ritual—we wear them to check our mails, to run errands or simply, (for the most audacious among us) to jog. Whatever you do, stepping outside requires this extra preventive measure which limits the transmission of COVID-19. But what is now considered as an everyday essential and the uniform of the model citizen was once a garment of rebellion and fantasy, a fashion staple that conveys status but also preserves anonymity. Influenced by subcultures and music, the face mask, and its unconventional remixes, played a prominent role in redefining contemporary pop culture of the last century.

As a massive Margiela devotee, Kanye West was spotted on stage with this opulent headpiece during his first solo tour in 2013. Featured in AW12, this intricate jeweled mask is certainly a cut above the rest. Made in-house at Margiela’s Paris atelier, each mask takes up to 18 hours to assemble through hand-embroidery.

source: fashionhedonism

KANYE WEST

As a massive Margiela devotee, Kanye West was spotted on stage with this opulent headpiece during his first solo tour in 2013. Featured in AW12, this intricate jeweled mask is certainly a cut above the rest. Made in-house at Margiela’s Paris atelier, each mask takes up to 18 hours to assemble through hand-embroidery.

BILLIE ELISH

For last year’s Grammys, cool girl Billie Elish gave off some serious badass vibes with her custom Gucci mask boasting the iconic double-G logo. Throw in some slime-green accents to her glorious ensemble, Elish is ready to intimidate all the bad guys on the red carpet.

source: Stylecaster

MF DOOM

Hip hop as we know it wouldn’t be the same without producer and rapper MF Doom. Part classic supervillain, part “Phantom of the Opera”, this metallic mask emcompasses the many facets of the rapper throughout his career. MF Doom used it as a performative vehicle to explore his different characters with conflicting views, without creating dissonance and betraying his identity. Perceived as a symbol of defiance, the mask also flips the narrative of the villain in a society where the lines between good and evil are often ambiguous.

AYO &TEO

Wearing their trademark bear face masks, musicians and dance sensations Ayo and Teo took over the world with their breakthrough single ‘’In Reverse’’. When asked about the meaning of their masks, the brothers revealed it was initially to hide their “awkward” facial expressions while dancing but are thrilled to have popularized this trend among other young dancers.

DAFT PUNK

Has anyone ever seen these two rob-bros without their gleaming helmets or any other masks since their 90’s debut? Never have we met a musical act so committed to anonymity, yet notoriously famous for their look. The duo explains that the masks represent the line between fiction and reality, creating these fictional personas that exist in real life (aka sci-fi glam).

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sources: AFP, luxuriousprototype, Stylecaster, the Guardian, YouTube