To foreigners, it looks like something out of a surreal horror film, but to many Chinese women, it is a useful tool for preserving skin beauty. We’re talking about what has been dubbed by English-language media as the “facekini”—a face covering that would look like a ski mask worn in a slasher film if it weren’t for its fluorescent colors and the fact that it is often sported by middle-age Chinese women at the beach. Often the source of amusing photo slideshows, the device has now reached the world of French high fashion with a new spread in CR Fashion Book.
The new magazine founded by former Vogue Paris editor Carine Roitfeld released the August photo spread after drawing inspiration from the masks that Chinese women often wear to shield their faces from sun damage. While tan skin is popular among Europeans and Americans, many Chinese women go to great efforts to keep their faces pale with a variety of products such as skin whitening creams.
“While our summer beauty routines are devoted to bronzing, self-tanning, and tan-extending, in Asia, beauty-seekers are more likely to center theirs around lightening and brightening,” says the magazine. “A tan does not signify a chic trip to Capri, but it could mean hours of hard labor spent out in the harsh sun.”
Check out more photos from the spread below: