Handcrafted with love, integrity and luxury, we talk about an Indo-French brand that is making masks a couture item
By: Soumya Jain Agarwal
Posted on: February 6, 2021
There was a time when ‘masks’ meant masquerades and carnivals, conjuring up visions of style and seduction. Today, masks mean more than that. And as preservation of life becomes challenging and imperative, all it takes is one step to bring yourself out of the dreariness of such an existence. Veronique Poles, an inspiring French national who adopted India as her home more than 14 years ago, did just that.
A luxury lifestyle and fashion consultant, Ms. Poles has been involved in designing and crafting bespoke, hand-embroidered creations for exclusive international clients for the last 12 years, among her other projects and collaborations. Someone who has worked with international luxury brands in her past life, understanding artistry comes naturally to her. And as she fell in love with the craft and couture of India, she passed on that knowledge and passion to her partner brands abroad.
Needless to say, the pandemic impacted her personal and professional life – just like it did for many of us. “During the first weeks of the lockdown, I was feeling frustrated while wearing the chirurgical mask. Nothing much was available in those days to lift the mood and de-dramatize the situation. I wanted to express myself, and thus started my search for singularity with a touch of craziness, to have a mask that reflects my expertise and my creativity too,” she says.
Hence, in April 2020, armed with her characteristic zest and positive attitude, and while being in a lockdown in her home, Ms. Poles began the process of creating a handmade mask that would not just bring a flicker of joy, but also help her karigars to stay positive and creatively occupied during a time when not many projects were in the pipeline.
And so, Vencia added a collection of bespoke, hand-embroidered masks designed 'avec amour’ (with love), celebrating femininity, strong sense of personal style and elegance. “You can’t see the lipstick, you can’t see the makeup, you can’t even see someone smile under a mask! I wanted something like a jewel on my face to add some glamour and glitter, challenging the art of looking beautiful while wearing a mask,” explains Ms. Poles.
And indeed, she succeeded in making masks which are bejeweled, with hundreds of high quality sequins and beads (sourced from Japan) sewn together to create a kaleidoscopic effect. Apart from being beautifully designed and with technical superiority, the masks fit snugly on the face, as if they were made just for you!
Available in a range of beautiful, wide palette of colours and patterns, these masks are wonderful to be paired with Indian lehengas, saris, anarkalis, and even jeans and dresses. Simply follow the mood of the day!
Ms. Poles and her team enjoyed designing the collection and selecting the components and combinations of colours to be used. Delicately hewed by skilled embroiderers, they explored a repertoire of practices, combining the components with sewing techniques to design exclusive masks. The know-how and the French touch combine with various patterns, including Indian floral ones, to create a mask which a global citizen – not just an Indian – would love to wear. It’s a work of art. Trust me, because I really do feel like framing mine!
Starting from making customized masks for herself, a few friends and some aficionados, Ms. Poles had designed a complete collection by October 2020. As workplaces opened up, women everywhere wanted something which they could flaunt, while expressing their individuality through a mask that spelled positivity and happiness.
Since they were launched during the festive season, Vencia masks turned out to be perfect for those looking for wedding masks. After all, surgical masks or printed cloth masks don’t spell celebration when paired with that gorgeous lehenga!
While many wanted Vencia masks for weddings or daily office wear, some wanted it to gift to someone they love and care about. Masks are no longer just a life-saver, but a life-saver fashion accessory. It was then a natural next step to launch a Valentine collection and to start an Instagram page to retail them.
“The Vencia Valentine's Capsule collection for 2021 celebrates more than ever love, friendship, and the sweetness and smoothness in life,” says Ms. Poles – feelings and desires that we have come to cherish even more during the hardships of 2020. And what better colour to do that than red?
“Red is a very inspiring colour, whether in luxury, fashion, art or even spirituality, as it embodies love, elegance, refinement, flamboyance, seduction, passion, regality, fire and much more,” says Ms. Poles. “Audrey Hepburn once said that ‘there is a shade of red for every woman’. I say there is a red mask for every woman in the Vencia collection,” she added.
From this fiery red collection to customised creations, Ms. Poles can design and make bespoke masks to fit your need or occasion. To enquire, connect on Vencia's Instagram page.