The Fashion Behind “Love Yourself: Tear”
On May 18, BTS released the music video for “Fake Love,” officially kicking off their first comeback of 2018 with the album Love Yourself: Tear. As thrilled as fans were for the group’s comeback, they couldn’t have predicted that the boys would debut their new album through not one, but three distinct new images to accompany multiple songs from the record. In addition to their styling for “Fake Love,” the boys also present a unique image for live performances of “Anpanman” and “Airplane Pt. 2,” showing that BTS’s image is as dimensional as the members are themselves. Between these three looks and those showcased in the concept photos for the album, BTS stand as icons for summer fashion this season.
THE FIRST LOOK: Fake Love
For this look, the boys appeared to revisit fashion aesthetics they had previously explored in the videos for the songs “Blood, Sweat, and Tears” and “DNA.” However, instead of simply replicating the same look for another comeback, their looks were slightly altered, perhaps representing their evolution from those eras.
The first look that viewers are met with in the video for “Fake Love” features a fairly neutral color palette, with most of the boys’ outfits gaining additional dimension and complexity through the use of accessories. Notably, before the members themselves can be seen, they stand in a line and are obscured by shadows.
However, once the boys emerge from the darkness, their outfits can be fully seen. Although the members’ outfits are fairly muted in color, each member’s outfit has at least one element that adds an extra level of interest to the ensemble, be it Jungkook’s sparkling red jacket, the bright white detailing on Jin’s shirt, or even V’s cream-colored leather harness.
According to Twitter user @GetOnSwag, V’s harness was custom made for the video by Instagram user @baandaal, a designer who makes leather accessories. The attention devoted to smaller details like these conveys the feeling that these extra touches are carefully chosen to draw the viewer’s eye without being too bright or flashy. Some of these details also include the use of metal jewelry or subtle, yet noticeable prints on some members’ clothing, such as Jimin’s animal print shirt or Suga’s white pants with writing on the legs.
Additionally, the boys’ outfits appear to echo the slightly darker, more refined image they showcased in their video for “Blood, Sweat, and Tears,” but with a bit of a twist -- although their outfits in the previous video were quite structured and coordinated with one another, their outfits in “Fake Love” mirror each other less and use looser fabrics and less structured silhouettes.
These aesthetic choices may have served two main purposes. The flowy fabrics used in the members’ outfits may have emphasized the smooth, swift movements in the song’s choreography, and the neutral color palette might have prevented the boys from clashing with or detracting from the opulent background behind them. Furthermore, their outfits almost blend together in some scenes, unifying their images and presenting a cohesive vibe that matches the emotional nature of the song.
However, this look wasn’t the only one the boys showcased in the video. Although its appearance was rather brief, the group also appeared in brighter, more colorful outfits that appeared to echo the ones they wore in the video for “DNA.”
Visually, this scene seems to immediately evoke images of the video for “DNA.” However, upon taking a closer look, the viewer can see that the scene in “Fake Love,” pictured above, almost looks like a more muted version of a scene from their previous comeback. The boys’ outfits in “Fake Love” aren’t quite as colorful, and the lighting and background surrounding them has far more blue in it than any other color. Although the scene may serve as a visual callback to “DNA,” it seems to elevate the aesthetic presented by dulling the contrast and adding a few darker elements, perhaps showing a moodier side of BTS than the previous video did.
Toward the end of the video, the distinction between these two images becomes blurred as scenes of the boys in both sets of outfits appear almost interchangeably. Visually, this seems to urge the viewer to consider these images not as two separate entities, but rather two connected ones, perfectly illustrating the contradictory and deeply nuanced nature of the phrase “fake love.” It’s almost as if the video aims to not only show the intensity of the bright and joyful feelings associated with love, but of the potentially painful and difficult ones as well. Moreover, the crossover between both images -- for example, the use of glittery fabrics, the color white in the darker image, or the use of black and cream colors in the brighter image -- further illustrates how the positive and negative feelings associated with “fake love” are ultimately inseparable.
According to Twitter user @GetOnSwag, some of the designers featured in “Fake Love” include TAKAHIROMITASHIYA The Soloist, Maison Margiela, and AMIRI.
THE SECOND LOOK: Anpanman
While the image BTS presented for “Fake Love” was dark and emotional, the one they crafted for “Anpanman” was anything but. In order to match the lively song, BTS often appears onstage in bright, colorful outfits with sporty touches -- for example, in one performance, V was seen in a blue and green Puma hoodie, and in others, members have been seen wearing Adidas or Nike shoes. Additionally, the boys often have a bit of an industrial look to their outfits -- for example, in one performance, RM was seen in a bright orange jumpsuit, and J-Hope was seen in a pair of black overalls with a weatherproof-like finish. Some members have even sported neon colors or reflective accents on their clothes, as seen on Jungkook’s jacket or J-Hope’s t-shirt below.
Together, these elements converge to make BTS appear almost as if they just stepped out of a Nintendo game or a children’s book, just like Anpanman, the cartoon hero for whom the song was named. These outfits add an element of childlike fantasy and fun to the catchy song, coordinating perfectly with the song’s lyrics about hoping to be a new kind of superhero in spite of not having the kinds of powers the heroes of fantasy do.
According to Twitter user @GetOnSwag, some of the designers featured in the looks for “Anpanman” include NASTYKICK, BAPE x Adidas, and Off-White.
THE THIRD LOOK: Airplane Pt. 2
The third look BTS embodied for their comeback is the one crafted for “Airplane Pt. 2,” a Latin-inspired tune that celebrates the group’s international success. For this look, the boys were seen in ensembles that were polished, yet perfect for hot summer weather. This look was primarily characterized by flowy shirts paired with loose, comfortable pants. Instead of sticking to solid colors, many of the pieces featured in BTS’s live performances of the song feature unique prints -- for example, botanical motifs, stripes, or tile prints. While many of these pieces feature these prints against a neutral background, many of them also incorporate vivid colors -- for example, Jimin and J-Hope have both been seen in loose pink button-down shirts with different prints on them. Their look almost incorporates a level of fantasy, as though viewers can picture them playing the characters described in the lyrics of the song.
Although their ensembles don’t point to a single theme or source of inspiration, they’re reminiscent of all kinds of vacation wear, characterized by breathable fabrics in lush, distinct colors and patterns. Additionally, these outfits may draw inspiration from Cuban men’s fashion. The light, yet structured nature of these outfits makes them perfect for any summer event.
According to Twitter user @GetOnSwag, some of the designers featured in these looks include Dries van Noten and Saint Laurent.
What are some BTS-inspired fashion trends you’re excited to try? Let us know in the comments below!