Masks have constantly featured in the public imagination in the new millennium. The first time the ubiquitous white mask became a symbol of survival was during the outbreak of the SARS epidemic in Asia. More recently the H1N1 influenza made masks a necessary survival tool. However, fashionistas wished they had a better looking alternative. The new Bob Basset Mask is here to cater to their needs.
Inspired by elements of fantasy and science fiction, the Bob Basset leather mask on display is definitely a cool piece of fashion to own. Going by the looks, it seems that it can also serve as a breathing apparatus during a virus outbreak.
Bulging blue, opaque eyes lead to a rust colored mouthpiece hammered in by golden pellets. Two tubes, small in size, extend out from the mouthpiece. These elements are held together by jet-black leather. Crafted from the finest leather, the artisans have embedded metal, resin, and glass elements into the fine leather to give the mask a gothic -Victorian feel.
The mask is so designed to turn the clock back to Victorian England, a time when steam was used to power motor vehicles, engines, and to produce electricity. A time when life was simple when compared to the present day concoction of sex, violence, drugs and war.
This leather mask is part of an underground movement known as Steampunk, a subculture that lives and breathes the age of England’s industrial revolution. Disenchanted with modern technology and inventions, members of this subculture crave for the idealized time of the industrial revolution. Nuclear technology, they fear, would drive the world to the brink of an apocalypse. This fear is partly portrayed in literature and other expressions of the Steampunk movement.
This Bob Basset mask too seems to embody the fear of an impending nuclear Armageddon. If such a catastrophe should occur, humanity may need leather and metal masks to breathe.
Steampunk shares common elements with Cyberpunk – another underground movement. Both movements are an expression of rebellion against conventional mores and ideals. Both movements are based on technology; though Cyberpunk focuses on present day innovations. The only difference is, Steampunk has a hopeful vision for the future and does not share the dystopian tendencies of the latter.
This Bob Basset leather mask can also be linked to dirigibles (airships), a constant feature of Steampunk fiction. Pilots of dirigibles are often shown as wearing leather masks such as the one displayed here.
This mask could be worn to underground clubs, used to scare a friend or two, or even be used as a piece of home decor. It would be a cool collectible for fans and non-fans alike.