Fashion Beyond Gender how K-pop is expanding fashion expression
From the runway to retail, catchphrases like “genderless,” “gender-fluid,” “unisex” and “androgynous” have been sweeping the fashion scene over the past few years.
Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci and other major luxury fashion houses are no exceptions. From unisex collections to mixed male and female catwalks, high-end labels are more and more embracing a blur of the masculine-feminine divide.
And on this frontier, K-pop male stars -- known for rocking makeup, perfectly groomed styles and the polished pretty-boy look -- are leading luxury labels’ gender-bending movement. From gender-neutral fragrance to handbags, sparkling jewelry and women’s jackets, these stars are not only heading the advertisement campaigns, but sporting the fashion in daily life.
For luxury brands seeking to tap into the coveted millennial market for a new source of profit, it’s a smart and natural decision to seize on the widening influence of K-pop. Whatever these stars wear causes pieces to sell out the moment they put it on, inspiring men and women both to dress like these stars.
“With the genderless trend hitting the fashion industry, brands are rolling out lines of apparel that are not limited to a specific gender,” a fashion industry source told Kpop Herald on condition of anonymity. “Against this nonbinary trend, K-pop male idols’ aesthetic, metrosexual image matches well with what luxury brands are aiming for. They can easily pull off clothes that are sometimes too bold or colorful, or outfits largely considered womenswear with ease, while exuding edginess.”
Following are some K-pop male idols luxury brands are falling in love with for defying gender stereotypes.
Kang Daniel, formerly of project group Wanna One, is one of the most sought-after stars among coveted luxury houses.
Kang recently endorsed Louis Vuitton’s iconic Twist handbags, which were originally designed in a women’s line. In the campaign, the heartthrob, clad head-to-toe in Louis Vuitton, casually holds the modern and sleek Twist bags with certain ease.
In the campaign titled “New Masculinity,” the chameleonic star breaks the gender stereotype by donning apparel from the women’s’ spring and summer 2019 collection: a cream blazer, sleeveless printed T-shirt, printed dress with oversized sleeves and beige knit dress and white frill blouse, among others.
Last year, he also modeled Chanel’s jewelry line, becoming the first male Korean star to head the brand since G-Dragon. In the photo shoot, he wears earrings, a watch and rings by Chanel, exuding his soft charm to redefine masculinity.
The global K-pop sensation is not only known for their great music and charm, but also their impeccable fashion sense.
From frill white blouses to dangling earrings, chokers, ever-changing hair colors and heavily lined eyes, the septet is not afraid of straying from gender norms when it comes to expressing their own style.
In the latest “Dionysus” concept photos for the new album “Map of the Soul: Persona,” the bandmates put on various garments from the Gucci women’s collection, including a blue handbag for Jungkook, green houndstooth check sleeveless vest with ribbon trim for V, leather jacket for Jin, a ring for RM, scarf and cardigan for Suga and a necklace, ring and bracelet for J-Hope. Meanwhile Jimin, who can be frequently spotted wearing Chanel apparel, donned a long necklace from the label.
In the concept photo for last year’s “Love Yourself: Answer,” the band flaunted women’s floral pants from Maison Margiela, a ruffled blouse and jacket from Dolce & Gabbana and shirt and sweater from the Gucci women’s collection.
Suga is spotted frequently complementing his look with a brooch of Chanel’s signature interlocking C logo, while RM, along with others in the group, can be seen in skirts for photoshoots.
V wearing Gucci
V, also known as “human Gucci” for his seamless fit with the brand’s glamorous and classic image, can nail anything from the Italian luxury brand, be it floral pants or a satin shirt with a ribbon.
Their fashion-forward style is reflected in how they advocate individuality, self-identity and love through their music.
“No matter who you are, where you’re from, your skin color, your gender identity - just speak yourself,” said RM in a speech last fall at the UN.
Before everyone else, there was G-Dragon, whose real name is Kwon Ji-yong. He has long been a front-row fixture at Chanel shows, as a favorite of the recently departed Karl Lagerfeld and brand ambassador for the French luxury house.
Before his military enlistment in February, he had nailed a women’s tweed jacket, pearl and chain necklace, signature Chanel camellia brooch, furry trapper hat and oversized shades at the brand’s fashion shows, adding his own twist by mixing in streetwear brands.
Chanel never officially produced a full menswear collection, but G-Dragon’s daring look proved again that Chanel is not limited to a single gender.
“Few years ago, guys thought Chanel was a women’s thing, but I’m kind of skinny I can wear women’s stuff too -- so I think it’s unisex,” G-Dragon was quoted as saying in an interview with Dazed. “It’s because the material quality is so good, and the detail. I’m kind of really into detail and fit. I’m actually wearing a women’s piece right now. When I wear Chanel, I feel like I am not just wearing clothes, I’m wearing Chanel.”
Source: Ahn Sung-mi
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