We Need to Talk About the Ridiculous Mercedes-AMG F1 x Balenciaga Face Shield

While the term high fashion is often used to describe pieces created by well-known designers and established fashion brands, it’s not interchangeable with haute couture. The brand new Mercedes-AMG F1 x Balenciaga face shield proves it: it is the epitome of haute couture and, at the same time, the most ridiculous accessory (gadget?) created in recent months.
Kim Kardashian wears the Balenciaga x Mercedes-AMG F1 face shield, $5,600 10 photos
Photo: Instagram / Kim Kardashian
The Balenciaga x Mercedes-AMG F1 face shield, $5,600The Balenciaga x Mercedes-AMG F1 face shield, $5,600The Balenciaga x Mercedes-AMG F1 face shield, $5,600The Balenciaga x Mercedes-AMG F1 face shield, $5,600Kim Kardashian wears the Balenciaga x Mercedes-AMG F1 face shield, $5,600Kim Kardashian wears the Balenciaga x Mercedes-AMG F1 face shield, $5,600Kim Kardashian wears the Balenciaga x Mercedes-AMG F1 face shield, $5,600Kim Kardashian wears the Balenciaga x Mercedes-AMG F1 face shield, $5,600Kim Kardashian wears the Balenciaga x Mercedes-AMG F1 face shield, $5,600
A few days ago, Kim Kardashian and part of her family were in Paris, France, where fashion house Balenciaga presented the 2022 Fall/Winter show, which also happened to be its 51st. Several other celebrities were in attendance, and some of them even ended up walking in the show, but it was Kim who stood out and got the most media attention, as always.

Part of the reason for that is that Kim wore a black face shield during the show, like several other models, and she continued to wear it afterward at the party. The whole thing was ridiculous, and that’s not meant as a sign of disrespect, either for Balenciaga or haute couture. From the standpoint of a regular person, here is a woman dressed in fancy clothes and wearing something that’s half helmet and half face shield, all blacked-out, at a party – and even pretending to eat. So, what exactly is that thing?

The thing is actually a high-tech custom accessory that’s been designed in collaboration with Mercedes-AMG F1 Applied Science, the engineering division of Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd dedicated to leveraging aerospace and motorsport technologies. It’s not the kind of face shield the international health crisis has made popular, especially in its second year. You must know the type, those transparent pieces of plastic that are meant to offer similar protection to face masks but without obscuring the face of the wearer.

Kim Kardashian wears the Balenciaga x Mercedes\-AMG F1 face shield, \$5,600
Photo: Instagram / Kim Kardashian
This one is made of ink-tinted coated polyurethane, molded and polished by hand so that it fits the wearer and the wearer only. And you can’t even see him or her because it’s black. Since it’s part of an haute couture collection, where every item is handmade, one of a kind, and fully custom, each face shield was all these things as well.

The face shield comes with both the Mercedes-AMG F1 and the Balenciaga logo on the back and, to those who can afford to wear haute couture on the daily, will be made available with the possibility to add the wearer’s initials there, too. But that’s just the superficial part related to design: this strange, almost dystopian accessory is actually made to do other stuff for the wearer than make him or her look like an out-of-touch rich person or, at best, a robot-like vision from the future.

“It is engineered to optimize air flow, improve performance metrics, and ensure a stabilized CO2 intake, while considering the effect of temperature for fogging,” Balenciaga said at the launch of the collection. It was designed over the course of several months, which included actual testing by Mercedes-AMG F1 Applied Science for aerodynamics and its anti-fog technology. This makes it sounds as if it’s more of a helmet than a face shield, but its inclusion in the Balenciaga show speaks to its applicability as the latter only.

The Balenciaga x Mercedes\-AMG F1 face shield, \$5,600
Photo: Balenciaga
One such Balenciaga face-shield, in case you’re wondering just how much cash you should be saving up, retails for $5,600 and is available exclusively at the Balenciaga Couture Store in Paris, where all inquiries are made by appointment only. That’s a lot of money and a lot of hassle just to end up looking like a fool (*to most people), but here’s the thing about haute couture, including accessories and other embellishments: it’s not for everyday life or for regular people. Haute couture is a testament of skill and design, and the ultimate status symbol for whoever ends up owning a piece of it.

The same goes for this Balenciaga x Mercedes-AMG F1 face shield. Is it ridiculous? For sure. Overpriced? Most likely. Useless? No doubt about it. But it’s also a high-quality, highly-creative piece of wearable art and will set a new trend. You can bet on that. P.S. It will also effectively hide pimples and the bags under your eyes, and sunglasses are for peasants.

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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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