- Quindao Beach 1.
ON THE BEACHES of Miami or Rio, it's all about showing skin. But on a beach outside Qingdao, China, it's all about covering up, even if it means looking like a lucha libre star. Swimmers there have become famous, even fashionable, for the funky "facekinis" worn over their heads to complement the colorful swimsuits they wear for protection against the sun and giant jellyfish.
The facekini is just what it sounds like: a headsock, often in colorful patterns, worn over the head to protect one's face from the sun. They've become hugely popular in China, and the world of high fashion embraced them with a spread in CR, the new magazine from former Vogue Paris editor Carine Roitfeld. CR called the masks "a hidden retreat in this season's swimwear," but they brought something else to mind for photographer Philipp Engelhorn, who spent a week this summer making a gorgeous series of portraits.
"It's sorta like Mexican wrestling to me visually," he says.
That may be, but the people wearing them do not care. They take skin protection very seriously, Engelhorn says, and jellyfish stings really hurt. And the masks have taken on something of a fashionable air. You can buy them in local stores for a couple dollars, but swimmers often make their own, along with the full-body swimsuits. The resulting garb often reveals something about the person wearing it.