A New Orleans atelier is really leaning into the concept of “dystopia but make it fashion” with a line of face masks with a handy flap for drinking. According to Fast Company, designer Ellen Macomber came up with her flashy masks with a handy-dandy cocktail opening because it met two needs that her clients expressed: safety and sipping. Now, I don’t want to poke holes in this line of thinking but… well, there’s already one there so let’s just dive in.
Let’s start with the pro column on this project: They’re super cute. Who doesn’t love a decorative mask moment? A little sequined social distancing! In these masks you’ll be the most fabulous fashionista on Fury Road. It’s amazing how quickly we’ve moved from “wow, it’s weird and scary to have something medically-directed covering my face” to “can this PPE be more PP Me?” Nothing says “this is fine” like staying up late at night shopping for the perfect mask to accessorize every outfit that you’ve haven’t worn outside in months. We’re a nation that isn’t sold on universal healthcare but is all in on merchandising medical care. That said, the minute Ivy Park drops a maroon and gold mask, obviously I’m copping it. I may have reservations about, well, everything, but I’m not about to be out here looking ugly in last season’s mask.
So the aesthetics are fine. It’s the function that gives me pause. I haven’t gotten my daily briefing from Dr. Birx’s scarves today but I feel pretty certain that a core component—perhaps the sole component—of a mask is that it doesn’t have holes in it. Why don’t you just wrap your head in cheese cloth and squeeze the germs out? That feels science-y.
Skittle me this: so masks are encouraged to prevent the virus from escaping a person’s mouth or nose and infecting others. So, what we’re saying is that it’s going to stroll up to a straw hole in a mask and then stop like “Wait a minute! This is an ‘in’ hole only! I can’t go out here.” The little virus particle pushing on the “pull” door like it’s in a Far Side cartoon. Is that science? It’s just standing next to the straw flap, red-faced like “Oh, my goodness! I’m so embarrassed. Siri, play ‘Leave (Get Out)’ by Jojo.”
It’s been a while since I took a ride on the Magic School Bus but I don’t think that’s how anything works. But who knows? I’m also a little unclear on the scenario that’s chill enough for sipping on a straw but also dangerous enough that it requires a mask. Is this for drinking iced coffee as you speed-walk through a market, staying six feet apart from everyone else? Or is this for a more relaxed hangout, enjoying some margaritas with under 10 friends? To pose the question implicitly asked every day of quar: wouldn’t it be easier to just drink at home?
I’m looking forward to the next phase of mask couture. When will we get masks with little flaps for eating? Maybe different sizes, so you’ve got a small bites mask and a big burger mask and you can switch them up. Maybe a mask with a little windshield wiper for when you’re having a messy plate of pasta. Let’s get creative! I want a mask with my actual teeth on it so that I don’t have to take off my mask when I go to the dentist. Does this seem creepy? Sure, but it’s a slippery slope and we’re all greased up. Faces are so last year; this year we’re doing functional but remarkably dysfunctional masks!