A few years ago--specifically, after Sept. 11, 2001--something like a jewel-studded gas mask would have been considered to be in poor taste, to say the least. And it still is, in our opinion, but that doesn't count for much when you're talking about obscenely expensive designer items showcased at the Luxury Show 2008 in Bucharest. That was, after all, the site of such egregiousness as a 24k-plated Hummer.
The gems pictured here are the products of artist Diddo Velema' along with Gucci and Louis Vuitton, according to Dvice, some even encrusted with diamonds. Velema explains the concept thusly: "We are in a state of perpetual war--with ourselves and with the eco-system that sustains us. Perpetual war breeds perpetual fear. In the present context, this fear stems from our extreme desire for authenticity and manifests itself in our collectively insatiable culture of consumption. Deep down, we are afraid we may never be satisfied. An expanding archive of branded myths and icons feeds this fear. Designer Gas Masks is an attempt to visualize this state of mind. Because it is only by first acknowledging and then challenging fear that we will all be able to breathe a little easier."
Just what we were thinking. Hey, if Oakley can come out with something as bizarre as its "Medusa Hat" and matching goggles, then surely there's room for a diamond gas mask.