Posted on December 27, 2020 at 7:18 pm by West Sider
By Amelia Roth-Dishy
With almost 9 months of mask-wearing below our belts, most of us have experimented with the type, material, or sample of this newly obligatory face accent not directly.
However one Higher West Sider has turned the artwork of masking up into simply that: a genuinely creative enterprise.
Elizabeth Sobieski, who goes by @themaskedhatter on Instagram, started posting selfies of herself carrying assorted masks again in early Might. She coordinates every distinctive masks with a superb hat and a pair of sun shades. Effusive captions detailing the masks and different clothes being modeled accompany every picture. To this point, she has shared 140 appears on her web page, all taken by hand— the account has a self-imposed “no selfie sticks allowed” rule. The Rag caught up with Sobieski to debate the challenge and its origins.
“When the pandemic started, I began to search out myself on their lonesome and remoted and I began to entertain myself by taking pictures these selfies,” she stated. “It’s form of grown and grown into a giant challenge.”
Sobieski, an arts author and novelist, has an intensive classic hat assortment that features items from designers comparable to Phil Tracy, Eric Javits, and Marie Marcié. She additionally had a drawer stuffed with sun shades readily available, however as soon as she started the account in earnest, she famous, “I admit I started to accumulate extra.” Flying Tiger was a popular spot for reasonable, fanciful glasses till it closed last month.
And by way of the all-important masks? “I’ve gotten them from in every single place,” she stated. “I get rather a lot from Etsy, and I’ve obtained some from New York designers like Dizzy Lizzy, Michael Kay, and Batsheva Hay, who’s an Higher West Sider. And I simply put them collectively in varied mixtures.”
She bought her first face coverings in January. “Though our authorities didn’t perceive that we have been going to wish them, for some motive or one other, I knew we have been going to wish them,” she stated. However they have been kind of fuel masks and generated some unusual appears when she would buy groceries at Barzini’s. Since then, her masked stylings, and sudden accent pairings, have flourished, catching the eye of admirers each on and offline.
“Often individuals say very good issues, like oh, what an incredible look, or that’s cool,” she added. The Masked Hatter has solely gotten one destructive response on the road, in Riverside Park: “This man walks by me and says ‘rat girl.’ I used to be carrying a pleasant hat and a pleasant masks with a sample on it that was not a rat,” she chuckled, “however possibly he was only a mad rat himself.”
The masks run the gamut from cheetah prints to sequins, Groucho Marx moustaches to textured blue feathers and extra sculptural items.
She’s presently awaiting a masks from St. Petersburg that allegedly glows with black gentle.
One in all her favorites, although she struggles to isolate only one, is an easy quantity with an vital message: “DR Fauci stated so.”
“It’s written in daring letters,” she stated. “And folks will ask ‘what did he say?’ Put on a masks.” Sobieski is happy with the masking diligence on the Higher West Aspect, which has elevated for the reason that begin of the pandemic, however she has her considerations. “Little children are nice and maintain their masks on rather well, and adults are terrific,” she stated, “however youngsters I discover are problematic mask-wearers.” She takes care to actively promote masks as public well being steerage on her account, imploring her readers to observe her lead.
However the Masked Hatter is greater than only a intelligent PSA or an Instagram deal with— it’s a persona, a trendy and mysterious pandemic-era determine with a really killer hat assortment on standby.
“It’s principally this character I’ve created, this type of secret id,” Sobieski stated, including with fun, “I feel I learn too many comedian books after I was rising up.
“Nevertheless it gave me a sure freedom, with this invisibility— since you couldn’t see my face, it was only a hat, a masks, and sun shades— I felt very snug strolling round taking these selfies.”
You might have seen Sobieski traversing the Higher West Aspect in her glamorous appears over the previous few months. Of the roughly 140 selfies on her account, all however one have been taken within the neighborhood, between Lincoln Heart and Straus Park on 107th Road. (The outlier is in a swimming pool, from a two-day journey out of the town in July— the caption reads, “For the primary time in 4 and a half months, the Masked Hatter has emerged from the Higher West Aspect.”) Sobieski typically dispatches from native landmarks and offers some corresponding historical past within the caption. Amongst her many images, she’s posed in entrance of Zabars, Harry’s Footwear, the Shade Retailer, Riverside Park tennis courts, and the Dakota; and with (the statues of) Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
“It’s very a lot in regards to the Higher West Aspect,” Sobieski stated, “and really a lot about these COVID-19 occasions by which we stay.”
Certainly, the conceptual, time-capsule potential of The Masked Hatter has not gone unnoticed. The account was lately featured in a digital gallery present on the College of Massachusetts, in a gallery in Denver, and within the International Center of Photography on Essex Road.
“What I’m hoping to do ultimately is to show it into just a little e book,” Sobieski stated. “ I do describe what’s happening, like final week I had one up the place I’m below one of many outdoors restaurant buildings on Amsterdam Avenue. I feel it will be an fascinating present e book and likewise a form of a reminiscence of this very unusual time we’re residing in.”