Masks: The Accessory With A Million Meanings

Photo: Power Mask: The Power of Masks/Lannoo Publishers.
Like most books, those of the coffee table variety take ages to put together. But those that are about fashion take even longer. Like, decades. While they're pretty to look at, it's a feat for designers that is earned — not bought. And when you're capturing a trend that dates back hundreds of years, it takes a village of designers, editors, and contributors to pull it off. It's why Power Mask: The Power of Masks is a must-have not just for your coffee table, but your fashion library too.
Curated by Walter Van Beirendonck (yes, of the Antwerp Six), the book of masks features works by Diane Arbus, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Thom Browne, Jean Paul Gaultier, Coco Fronsac, and more, thus covering the gamut of art, fashion, photography, and beyond. From the beginning, Van Beirendonck has been inspired by the use of masks and headpieces and has often referenced them in his own collections. It's no surprise, then, that Power Masks carries his byline. But as it turns out, masks are more relevant now than ever before. Take fall 2018 ready-to-wear alone: Gucci, Marine Serre, Richard Quinn (who's featured in the book), Calvin Klein, and more all featured masks. They even appeared on the Dior spring 2018 couture runway.
Why masks are featured throughout the fashion cycle has less to do with wearability and more about feeling. As identities become more interchangeable than ever, so do the things we choose as our armor and what they mean. And a pair of Thom Browne bunny ears can be just as appropriate on a street style blog as it is, say, in the bedroom.
Click through for a snapshot of what you'll find in Power Mask: The Power of Masks. See you at the next masquerade ball.

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