Fashion is dead. For the moment protective clothing rules. Face masks, hazmat suits, goggles and gloves, these are the items people are clamouring for. Thanks to an understandable desire to remain healthy there is now even a link between the DuPont hazmat suit and the supermodel Naomi Campbell.
Early in March, Campbell donned a $16 DuPont hazmat suit that she had bought on Amazon. To this she added large goggles and a blue face mask and pink latex gloves. It left little of her famous body exposed.
On her YouTube channel Campbell is candid about her health concerns. She says that she started wearing a face mask on aeroplanes in the 90s. She started disinfecting her aeroplane seat 17 years ago. Watch that YouTube video of her doing it. She really goes at it.
PPE is the TLA of the moment
Getting Personal Protective Equipment has been no easy thing for South Africans. A Grotto reader tells this writer that his P100 face mask took 44 days to arrive from America. He blames the delay on bungling on the part of the courier and customs. At the moment he’s waiting for a hazmat suit that he ordered from Amazon, but he’s not overly confident of getting it. He chose a DuPont hazard suit. He says Campbell influenced his choice.
Feeling ugly – but it’s okay
Another man told this writer of the mixed feelings he has about his face mask. On the one hand he’s relieved that he managed to get a face mask for R30 from a pharmacy in Cape Town. But he says ruefully that he looks like a monster in it.
One suspects that this unease about wearing a face mask is common amongst South Africans. Few of us have experience of wearing them. Few, too, have been blessed with a supermodel’s bone structure. For now, we don’t care. We accept that we have to look somewhat freaky in order to make it through the coronavirus.
Naomi’s outfit was hailed as “plague chic” by some US publications. On Facebook the response to photos of her dressed in her hazmat suit was more of a mixed bag. Someone posted: “Naomi – I love and respect you and your OCD, however, this is Ridiculous.” Another Facebook user zoomed in on the Burberry cape that the model wore over it.
“That poncho looks like it’s made of wool probably Hermes or something,” the Facebook user stated, going on the attack. “The virus can live for 8 weeks on thicker carpet like material. I bet that Poncho Cape is like five grand or more. But you can afford to throw that away.. and if you’re serious about not being infected you should throw it away. I’ll take your possibly infected Poncho off your hands.”
In the past, designer gear would have made this writer envious too. But things have changed. Concerns have changed. And so I’ll say: stuff the cape! I’ll take the PPE.