The $465 Face Mask

What recession? There's a $456 dollar face mask for sale.

Photo-illustration by Lauren Bulbin

Face masks may not be going away. But they have gone upscale.

In the early days of the quarantine, social media inundated us with clever hacks for making our own. You may have been locked down at home, but there was no way to dodge online instructions for the bandanna-and-two-hair-ties trick. And while that was fine for quarantine, people are starting to reemerge—and discovering that their sense of style is coming back, too. Enter PPE 2.0.

In the world of fashion-forward Covid accessories, one item leads the pack in opulence: a Christian Siriano face mask.

Siriano was among the designers who started making masks early in the crisis, donating them to essential workers at a time when supplies were low. It was a good deed—and also good for the brand. In April, the Washington Post’s Robin Givhan reported that the gesture had propelled Siriano back into the spotlight—“the face of a fashion industry that once dismissed him.”

These days, his team still sews masks fit for frontline use, but it’s his micro-collection of couture masks that’s getting attention: three made-to-order, limited-run, beaded and embellished styles—one golden-petal appliqué on black crepe, one covered in pearls, and another pink crystals—with each priced at a whopping $465.

Sure, that’s 1,000 times the cost of plain-Jane disposables, but it’s not all for vanity: A hundred percent of the proceeds goes to funding Siriano’s Mask Project for healthcare workers.

Amy Moeller
Fashion & Weddings Editor

Amy leads Washingtonian Weddings and writes Style Setters for Washingtonian. Prior to joining Washingtonian in March 2016, she was the editor of Capitol File magazine in DC and before that, editor of What’s Up? Weddings in Annapolis.