MONTREAL (AP) — A Quebec fashion designer has launched a line of high-end designer masks inspired by the costumes of the Olympic figure skaters he dresses.
Mathieu Caron has been designing and manufacturing outfits for several years, including the spectacular outfits worn by Canadian Olympic champion Tessa Virtue and world silver medalist Shoma Uno of Japan, among others.
The profits from the mask sales go to the World Health Organization in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
“We took the same materials as the skaters’ costumes, the same decorations, the same design, but we completely recreated the form to make masks,” said Caron, who also designs dancewear, gowns and wedding dresses.
“My primary goal was to make sure that the artistic side could come to help a little, raise funds to make a difference and at the same time make a collection item a little more glamorous than an ordinary mask.”
The limited-edition masks are not for all budgets — the eight models cost between $150 and $300.
Japanese customers were not deterred, snatching items inspired by Uno’s costumes, which retail for $200 to $250. Initially, the idea was to design a maximum of 15 masks for each skater, but in Japan, they sold 70.
“I was surprised,” Caron said. “In times of crisis like this, I honestly didn’t think people had so much money to buy a mask.”
Caron says his goal was not to heighten his brand.
“It was more an artistic contribution to do our part with some members of my team who also got involved in the decoration,” he said. “But with everything we have sold, we will not be unemployed for the next few weeks.”
The masks are made of cotton and polyester fibers. The fabrics come from the same materials as the skaters’ outfits. The material is breathable, with padding to give shape and structure.
“Now, is it something medical? Not at all,” Caron said. “We would rather call it a fashion accessory, a collector’s item.”