2020 was the year of the face mask. But unlike the antiviral face coverings that have lately graced your shopping baskets, the masks of fashion designer and painter @nastia_pilepchiuk are haute-couture ways of experimenting with the face she sees in the mirror on a daily basis.
Pilepchuk started making masks eight years ago, while she was part of the DJ duo Maiden Obey. “We liked changing our appearance,” Pilepchuk told The Calvert Journal. “In the beginning, we did that through make-up and masks from carnival shops, but it wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to try out something new, and I made the first mask. It was a white mask with spiky elements, which I made from fabric and paper. I fell in love with the creative process and, somehow, it evolved into my favourite thing to do.”
Experimenting with a variety of shapes, textures, and materials, the designer says she is inspired by everything around her: nature, technology, human beings, and body parts.
Based in Moscow, Pilepchuk was born in Yakutia, and has Buryatian roots. This heritage sometimes feeds into her work: for one mask-candleholder, for instance, she was inspired by choirs of elderly women in Siberia, which remind her of the forests and rivers there. “They calm me,” she says, “I feel all the love my ancestors have given to me, those who have passed away, and will stay in my heart forever. I light the candle for them.”