If you have seen the famous photo of the futuristic look of the model Vicki Dunlap, taken back in the late 1960s, without reading the fine print you would think it represents the alien-like look taken from a science fiction movie.
In fact, the model was showcasing makeup and clothing specifically made to protect her from the increasing levels of air pollution and smog in Los Angeles. Seems too far-fetched for you? Well, it might actually be the only way we can fight smog in big cities very soon.
Now, let’s observe the whole look more closely. The body of Dunlap is covered with insulating body paint, which not only protects from cold weather but it also does not allow pollutants to get into contact with the skin. She also wears gadgets such as a necklace that can control her appliances at home and earrings that supply enough energy to power a radio and a computer.
The photograph taken back in 1968 can only be interpreted in the way we read the article about ‘Why smog in China is good for the nation‘. The incredible air pollution in LA at that time, left governmental officials somehow paralyzed and unable to deal with the problem, quite a similar situation to the one in China right now. But the problem is of course not limited only to China and the US. Regardless of the numerous measures that EU officials take these days to ensure that such smog does not occur on the old continent, air pollution is quite a huge problem and even referred to as the ‘invisible killer’. The moment when an EU reporter will come up with a sarcastic outlook, following the American and the Chinese examples, is probably not too far away.
But let’s get back to the story at hand. What has changed since the 1960’s when the photo of Dunlap seemed super futuristic? You might be surprised, but giant makeup producing companies are releasing anti-pollution products every second. They don’t make us look like characters taken out of Star Wars, well unless we really abuse the products, but they guarantee to protect our skin from the toxic particles in the air.
Now, if only someone could create an invisible mask that we can put in front of our nose and mouth, so that the air that we breathe is filtered and free of toxins. This would surely provide us with a complete set of products that could protect us from the smog without stopping the world from seeing out beauty. Maybe, one day.
Image (c) Associated Press