Face Masks and Runway Fashion: Can Face Masks Be Haute Fashion?

In the age of coronavirus, protective face masks have become an essential part of our daily routines. No matter where we go, we always have to make sure we have our masks on as a precaution, but can this necessary addition make its way to the runways? The answer is yes. Many designers at this year’s Paris Fashion Week decided to feature this idea. In the spirit of 2020, face masks were seen anywhere and everywhere on the runways this season, and they were absolutely magnificent.



It’s very important that major designers and fashion houses are promoting the use of face masks by making them appear more chic. Their efforts to make this necessary protective gear a fashionable accessory prove just how critical masks are in defeating the pandemic. It looks like big designers are pulling no punches when it comes to encouraging healthy and sanitary habits during this challenging time. With masks printed to match entire runway looks, what’s not to love about masks on the 2020 Fashion Week runways?

Pictured above is young designer Christian Siriano’s take on mid-pandemic themed runway fashion at his Paris Fashion Week show in late September. Matching the masks with his stunning designs for Spring 2021 exemplifies that even medically required protection can be elegant and beautiful. These looks perfectly combine his style and brand aesthetic with elements that ground them in the real world. (Side note: I also love his political activism message.)


But by far the most creative use of this accessory on the runway is by Marine Serre. Serre showcased everything, from bold and defiant masks to more wearable ones. The innovation of Marine Serre at Paris Fashion Week was exceptional, especially when it came to making a statement, while also staying safe.

This look from the Marine Serre Paris show is a perfect example of the brand mixing their own signature style with the current health regulations. This extremely avant-garde mask is yet another way top designers have begun embracing the new normal. Although this look definitely wouldn’t work for everyday wear, the fact that Serre decided to make the mask part of her haute couture collection was even more impressive.

Another similar type of face covering from Paco Rabanne (left) proved to be a showstopper on the runway, while Rick Owens(right) decided to showcase a more futuristic take on the accessory:

Each designer’s take on mid-pandemic fashion has been unique and innovative. Their combinations of function with fashion make for plenty of memorable, and even some risky, looks. While all of these runway ready looks may not be appropriate for a day in the office, the fashion world’s ability to adapt to the current global crisis and still manage to thrive is admirable. For me personally, I’m not sure how I’ll be pulling off the full gold sequin Paco Rabanne outfit, however, I admire and respect the passion that went into conceiving it. This year’s Paris Fashion Week was a testament to the perseverance and strength of the fashion community in the midst of all the challenges 2020 has thrown our way.


Overall, given the circumstances, Paris Fashion Week exceeded expectations and still delivered looks to love. If you need more proof of that, look no further than the gorgeous face masks that were designed to compliment, and even enhance, each look individually. Thanks to these runway looks, I don’t think anyone can argue that face masks are just a boring necessity, when these shows proved they can be so much more.