What has a Formula 1 racing team like Mercedes-AMG’s engineering division has to do with a high-end luxury, Parisian fashion label, Balenciaga? Well, the answer is a face shield. Though, not quite the medical use kind of face shield like Louis Vuitton’s.
Balenciaga is a fashion face shield that completely obscures the wearer’s face. It looks like something the aristocrats of the dystopian future would wear when they are out and about. The feeling was rather unsettling when I watched the models parade the usual fashion pieces wearing this face shield.
The bizarre scuba bodysuit with gloves and kicks in Japanese neoprene did not help to quell that feeling I had. It is just, weird.
The face shield was developed by Mercedes-AMG F1 Applied Science, the engineering division of Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd specializing in aerospace and motorsports technologies, in collaboration with Balenciaga.
Apparently, the mask is made of ink-tinted, coated polyurethane that is molded and polished by hand to fit a specific wearer. That means each face shield is one-of-the-kind, though not by aesthetics.
In fitting with Balenciaga’s stylish (and mostly bizarre) nature, the face shield is as minimal as it can get. The only thing that breaks the shiny half-full face helmet is the branding of Mercedes-AMG F1 and Balenciaga.
And it is not all about the look, or the lack of it; there is a science to it. According to Balenciaga, the face shield is engineered in such a way that it “optimizes airflow, improves performance metrics, and ensures a stabilized CO2 intake, while considering the effect of temperature of fogging.” Wait, what? CO2? How? I am confused. Well, at least we know whoever is behind that mask won’t have any issue with fogging.
If you are eager to get your hands on one, well then good news because the Balenciaga Couture Face Shield by Mercedes-AMG F1 is actually available to buy if you have US$5,600 to drop.
It is expensive as hell but I am sure that is to be expected. And the price does not include your personal expenses required to travel to Balenciaga Couture Store in Paris which is the only place that sells it. Also, you can’t just visit the store as you wish. It is strictly by appointment only.