With face masks and face shields here for the long term, designers are increasingly creating PPE that better integrates with our everyday needs and wardrobes.
One such example? Louis Vuitton just announced a new luxury face shield that has a photochromatic lens so it darkens in direct sunlight. No need to awkwardly layer sunglasses and a face shield to protect your eyes from the sun anymore. This design does both. (Of course, whether this high-end example is “everyday” depends on your spending power.)
There have been a few other luxury takes on PPE. Burberry announced it will offer face masks in its signature plaid, and back in April, designer Joe Doucet released a fashion-forward face shield concept, with a darker translucent tint over the eyes. (The face shield is now available for purchase.) The difference with the Louis Vuitton shield is that the material itself transforms in response to the user’s natural environment.
In addition to darkening in direct sunlight, the LV Shield, as the company calls it, can also pivot up to be worn as a visor. The shield has a cushioned strap with the classic Louis Vuitton monogram print that goes around the head, with golden studs that allow the shield to pivot up and down, reminiscent of the brand’s classic luggage. The product launches October 30 and will be available for purchase online, over the phone, and in select Louis Vuitton stores.
While other outlets report that the face shield will retail for close to $1,000, Louis Vuitton didn’t confirm those reports, telling Fast Company only that the pricing hasn’t yet been confirmed. And while the Louis Vuitton design is clearly for luxury consumers, it’s easy to envision the innovation in other applications: Wouldn’t it be great if restaurant servers had a lower-cost version to wear while attending to outdoor diners? Or if construction workers—who are required to wear PPE while working outside in the sun’s glare—could utilize something similar? This is luxury design with serious real-world potential.