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These three haute couture masks are the safest (and most fashionable) ever designed

With a second collaboration with Marine Serre, the label R-PUR now places their new technology at the service of fashion for the house of Aoudi. A house whose DNA is 100% haute couture, as dreamed up by the pencil of Yacine Aouadi. It was only after he had earned his stripes as a stylist at Balmain that the designer decided in 2015 to found his own eponymous label. He hit the ground running as his first collection was displayed under the nave of the Grand Palais, where his creations seduced spectators on first sighting, including Cate Blanchett, Kirsten Dunst, or Rooney Mara. Ever since, the Marseille designer has blended the art of detail with sophisticated silhouettes, an effect which today he has transposed to three futuristic masks in collaboration with R-PUR. 

Aouadi fuses craftsmanship and technicality

Between feathers, embroideries and avant-garde shapes, these three exclusive models transform the health essential into an highly-coveted couture piece. Handmade by well-reputed artisans, these unique items will be auctioned off between 22nd to 28th February, with all proceeds going to the Hospital Foundation. On this occasion, Yacine Aouadi has taken part in the Vogue questionnaire game and reveals the production secrets of this unique collaboration. 

The “Radiant Knot” mask by Aouadi and R-PUR

© Gregory Harris

© Gregory Harris

What are your reasons for taking on this project, and what was your starting point? 

“At the end of the first lockdown, we were amazed, as I imagine most of us were, at how in the blink of an eye the mask became an everyday essential. It was on the basis of this observation that it seemed reasonable for us to combine the highest degree of sophistication represented by the savoir-fair of the haute couture craftsmen with the high technicality of R-PUR masks. From our very first conversations, following the collective isolation we went through, it became clear to us that this project only made sense if it was purely charitable: a testimony of union and solidarity.”

How did you manage to combine the couture aspect with the inherent sanitary dimension?

“That was the creative challenge of this project. To succeed in bringing materials and textiles as delicate as hand embroidery, lace, and feathers, together with materials and technical constraints such as stretch, water-repellant and breathable materials, which unique to R-PUR masks. This challenge was made possible thanks to the unique talent of different workshops who contributed to this project, and to the technological expertise of R-PUR, most notably its patented filtration technology, which is ten times more efficient than the highest European FFP3 standard. 

The “Radiant Knot” mask by Aouadi and R-PUR on its podium

© Laziz Hamani

© Laziz Hamani

These three designs were made in the wake of a haute couture heritage. Which craftspeople took part in their creation?

We have of course called upon all the creative professionals who we tend to work with for our collections, the embroidery workshop Vermont, the feather-maker Lemarié, Sophie Hallette for lacework, and the light hands of l’Atelier Caraco. It is this chain of solidarity which has allowed us to carry out this project designed to pay homage to health workers.”

Burning Heart, Radiant Knot, White Dove: what were the inspirations at the origin of these masks? 

“Behind the design and the names given to these 3 masks, there is a message of hope, humanity and unity symbolised by the universal symbols of the dove, the heart, and the knot, which hark back equally to classical symbols of haute couture.’ 

The “White Dove” Mask by Aouadi and R-PUR  

© Gregory Harris

© Gregory Harris

These pieces are carefully displayed on a base, itself protected by a transport case as if it were a work of art. Have they really been designed to be worn?

It was the whole focus of this project, to design masks in line with the tradition of haute couture, with attention to detail at its core, whilst being portable and protective for their future wearers.”

Fashion has not ceased to evolve in recent times. Is this project a way to prove that haute couture is not incompatible with the major issues of our society?

“Besides this project, I would even say that the nature of haute couture has never so well reflected the aspirations of our present society: to donate from time to time, to value quality over quantity, singularity to standardisation, timelessness to seasonality. And finally, I remain of the opinion that haute couture contributes to improving our everyday all whilst conveying a message of dream and of beauty. What could be more necessary in our times? 

The “White Dove” mask by Aouadi and R-PUR on its podium

© Laziz Hamani

© Laziz Hamani

The “Burning Heart” mask by Aouadi and R-PUR

© Gregory Harris

© Gregory Harris

The “Burning Heart” mask by Aouadi and R-PUR on its podium

© Laziz Amani

© Laziz Amani

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