Few phrases have the same effect on us as “masked ball.” There’s something about wearing an evening dress and a glamorous whisper of a mask that is incredibly seductive—it takes an ordinary night and turns it operatic. And when the masks are as beautiful as these bejeweled versions from Mimi Plange, the romance quotient is sky high.
Plange, who was born in Ghana, studied fashion design in San Francisco and is now based in New York City, draws on both Victorian and African historical fashions in her designs. Her stone and Swarovski crystal-encrusted masks are inspired by African tribal scarification, a frequent theme in her work. “I also love the idea of costume adornments that are a little less permanent,” she says. “I wanted to add a modern crystallized twist that was beautiful whether it was functional or not.”
We’re offering Plange’s hand-assembled masks—she makes each one freehand, without a predetermined design, so no two are exactly alike—in four styles. Night is entirely and mysteriously black, Krystal is angelically clear, Malayne is a riot of bright colors, and Kalia is a more patterned style that outlines the eyes in hot pink.
The masks are made of plastic and covered with cotton Lycra jersey for a smooth fit. They’re all one size, but the elastic strap means they can accommodate different size heads. And if a masked ball is not in your near future, they also look fantastic lying on a vanity, propped up on a mantle or hung as art on the wall.
If you do choose to wear them, according to Plange, there’s no need to wait for a grand occasion. “I would wear them out for the night with something simple and classic like a sheath dress or even for Halloween dressed as a character from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I slip them on whenever I feel the need to escape for a moment.”