Looking for hot new beachwear before the summer fades away? Then you might—or, let's face it, might not—try a facekini, one of those colorful masks that started drawing attention on Chinese beaches in 2012, Global Post reports. What first looks like a pastel terrorist hood has actually been popular among middle-aged Chinese women for its UV protection. Now, a former Vogue editor has published a photo spread of women wearing facekinis in the magazine CR Fashion Book. "A tan does not signify a chic trip to Capri, but it could mean hours of hard labor spent out in the harsh sun," says the magazine.
Indeed, that's the point: The Chinese have long revered white skin as a sign that someone is too wealthy to have to work outdoors, the BBC reports. "One touch of white disguises 100 kinds of ugliness," goes an old Chinese saying. But now some big-city Chinese are picking up Western notions of beauty and even going to tanning salons. Meanwhile, Western interest in facekinis inspired 12 million comments over two days on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter: "Chinese old women are at the center of the global fashion world," said one; "It looks like bank robbers are raiding the beach," said another. (Another weird new trend: socks with sandals.)