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Paris Fashion Week is still underway, despite the coronavirus having spread to 47 countries with more than 80,000 reported cases worldwide. Amid the outbreak, one fashion brand launched an aptly timed accessory on the runway: a face mask. Marine Serre sent models down the runway on Wednesday in a variety of face masks, including knit pieces. Influencer and model Kozue Akimoto attended the show, wearing a red and black non-disposable face mask.
Dutch influencer Romy D’Fonseca posted a photo of herself on Instagram in the same mask, explaining that the accessories, made in collaboration with air quality brand Airinum, debuted in Paris and will be available for sale online this week. Airinum shared a photo of the mask last week with the caption, “Launching soon.” A rep for Airinum tells The Hollywood Reporter, “This has been a project going on long before the coronavirus.”
Gwyneth Paltrow donned an Airinum mask on her flight to Paris this week, writing on Instagram, “En route to Paris. Paranoid? Prudent? Panicked? Placid? Pandemic? Propaganda? … Stay safe. Don’t shake hands. Wash hands frequently.”
A rep for Serre told THR that the “urban air mask” can protect from bacteria, germs, pollution, smog, pollen and allergens, but “unfortunately the mask technology has been not tested for the COVID-19 protection, therefore we don’t state any associations between the mask performances and the virus.” It’s set to be released around March 16; products have already been shipped to stores such as H. Lorenzo, The Webster and WDLT117.
An earlier automated response from Airinum explained that “due to the current coronavirus situation,” the brand is experiencing a “spike” in requests. Airinum’s masks, which range from $69-$99 each, appear to be sold out and will be restocked in April. Replacement filters are also sold out after being rationed to four orders per person. Amazon appeared to be sold out of disposable medical face masks as of Thursday.
Serre, who founded the “futurewear” label in 2017, previously worked at Alexander McQueen, Dior and Balenciaga. In November, Serre featured stylish anti-pollution masks in the fall/winter 2019 collection through a collaboration with French filtration brand R-PUR ($575, no longer available). The designer has said her work centers on “a decisive ecofuturist thematic and vision,” and the style has translated to the red carpet with Billie Eilish wearing a Gucci face mask to the Grammys this year. THR has reached out to Serre.
On her website, an eerie voiceover of the runway video explains, “The human question is not how many can possibly survive within the system, but what kind of existence is possible for those who do survive?”
Over at the Dries Van Noten and Isabel Marant Paris Fashion Week shows this week, guests donned white medical face masks while watching the presentations. THR has reached out to DVN for comment. On Friday, French label Agnès B canceled its PFW show along with six Chinese designers, according to Reuters. Then on Monday, luxe eyewear brand Linda Farrow announced its March 3 party would not happen “due to the escalating situation with the Coronavirus in France.”
Shanghai Fashion Week, set to begin March 26, was postponed due to the coronavirus and Seoul Fashion Week, slated to start March 17, has been canceled. The South China Morning Post reports that China Fashion Week in Beijing has been postponed as well.
During Milan Fashion Week, Armani decided to live-stream his show from an empty theater to protect the health of would-be guests. On Wednesday, a new coronavirus case in California was thought to be the first in the U.S. of unknown origin.
Reps for Louis Vuitton and Celine had no comment on how the coronavirus may affect Paris Fashion Week shows, while a rep for the agency KCD added that “clients are making assessments on this in real time.” KCD’s clients include Alexander McQueen, Balmain, Chloe, Givenchy, Isabel Marant and the LVMH conglomerate, which canceled a reception for the LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers on Thursday.
Paris Fashion Week runs through March 3.
Feb. 27, 12:15 p.m. Updated to include statement from Airinum.
Feb. 28, 12 p.m.: Updated with Marant and Agnès B show details.
March 2, 8:15 a.m.: Updated with Serre statement and Farrow cancelation.
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