It was only a matter of time before status symbol face masks became a thing, and Burberry has become the first major European luxury house to jump in.
The British label has launched a pair of antimicrobial masks in its signature check pattern. Available in pale blue and the standard beige, Burberry's masks are made from excess fabric. 20 percent of all proceeds will go to the Burberry Foundation COVID-19 Community Fund, which may just make the $118 asking price less offensive.
It comes with a pouch, too — What is a luxury item without its own little pouch? Burberry's masks will come with its own "travel pouch" — putting another barrier between you and the dreaded coronavirus whenever you need to take it off.
The washable face mask is made from 100 percent cotton and has another layer of polyester for extra protection. Its antimicrobial properties come from HeiQ Viroblock, a Swiss textile technology that's been tested at 99.999 percent effectiveness for killing COVID-19 after 30 minutes.
Will this become a trend? — Bonafide designers have already lent their hands to the most important accessory of 2020, but this marks the first time that one of the tried-and-true luxury houses has entered the space. With bootleg designs rampant, we know the appetite is out there. So how long before the likes of Louis Vuitton and Gucci begin making their own?
The most elegant face mask on the market belongs to Collina Strada, a New York City-based designer who attached a pair of large bows to create something that's actually beautiful. Its priced at $100, but for each sold another three are donated to Seeding Sovereignty. Those who can't afford a mask can also reach out to the brand for other masks provided at no cost.
If anything will make a luxury face mask feel less gross, it'll be the charitable initiatives attached. But for as long as COVID-19 is here — and the U.S. does everything in its power to enable it — exorbitantly priced masks will have their place.