The Fashion Behind “Retro Future”
On July 18, Triple H made their long-awaited summer comeback with the release of “Retro Future,” a funky, dimensional song that puts a sophisticated twist on their signature sound. While last summer’s release, “365 FRESH,” incorporated plenty of its own sounds and imagery borrowed from previous decades, such as the ‘70s, “Retro Future” kicks things up a notch, sinking into the ‘80s aesthetic with a rich bassline, provocative lyrics, and experimental visual styling.
The most notable trait about the group’s fashion in the video for “Retro Future” is that it doesn’t seem to have a specific theme—rather, the members of the group appear in multiple outfits of various silhouettes, speaking further to the experimental nature of the fashion seen in the video. However, one characteristic that does unify the members’ outfits is the way they rely on pieces inspired by the ‘80s with a futuristic twist, almost as if to embody what people in the ‘80s might have imagined highly futuristic fashion to look like. In other words, instead of getting caught up in one or the other, the group truly embodies a vision of a “retro future” and the juxtaposition between the past and the future.
For example, in the video, the group is intermittently seen posing against a red background as a spotlight moves over them. Although the three members are seen in different outfits—HyunA in a patterned bustier and shorts, Hui in an oversized red leather jacket with a button down underneath, and E’Dawn in a reflective gold jacket with a black mesh shirt underneath—they all have a unique pair of sunglasses with either colored or reflective lenses. These sorts of styles, while popular now, were also popular in the ‘80s, often evoking images of cyborgs and a heightened presence of robotic influence in society’s imagination of what the future might look like.
Another notable element in Triple H’s styling is the group’s willingness to push boundaries and experiment with non-normative fashion. In addition to wearing bright, eye-catching colors and accessories in unusual silhouettes, the members of the group also appear in sheer white outfits with lace and pearls.
While lace and pearls can sometimes feel dated, the outfits add intrigue by putting some sort of twist on the traditional style. For example, E’Dawn and HyunA appear in sheer white outfits, leaving E’Dawn’s chest almost completely visible and revealing HyunA’s neon bodysuit underneath her dress. Both of them are also seen in colorful accessories, such as bright blue earrings and a silver choker with large charms attached. Meanwhile, Hui’s cream-colored blouse is topped with strings of pearls draped across his body, mimicking the popular body-chain trend with something a bit more unusual. Once again, these outfits put a futuristic twist on elements that tend to evoke eras past, stretching beyond the ‘70s and ‘80s and going all the way to the ‘40s and ‘50s. Additionally, although elements like pearls and lace are often typecast as feminine, Hui and E’Dawn show that they don’t have to be gender-exclusive and that fashion can push the boundaries of traditional masculinity. Simultaneously, HyunA’s outfit plays in the gray area between modest and revealing by incorporating both characteristics into one outfit.
In addition to the outfits seen in the video, some of the group members’ outfits from teasers and promotional photoshoots further delve into the “retro future” aesthetic, featuring pieces that further experimented with Triple H’s image as a group. For example, in one of the group’s Instagram photos, one member is wearing purple satin pants with crystal embellishments, white embroidered loafers, and a patterned button-down shirt, while another is in a satin leopard-print shirt, black pants, and brown loafers.
In another Instagram photo, HyunA is wearing a Chanel beret and black mesh gloves, adding an edgy twist to a classic, polished style.
Another one of the group’s comeback teasers reveals the members in outfits that were later seen in the music video—masks included. In the video, the members are seen walking into a house wearing these outfits, pausing to take their masks off and reveal their faces to the viewer before doing so.
In a way, these unusual outfits seem fitting to kick off the video, as the removal of the masks appears to symbolize the transition between the muted, more restrained characters the members embody in the beginning and the wild, uninhibited individuals they become by the end. E’Dawn is seen in an oversized beige blazer and matching pants, HyunA in a petticoat-style dress featuring movie posters from the 1960 film The Last Woman on Earth, and Hui in a dark blue blazer, pleather pants, and a green shirt.
Although these outfits vary quite a bit from one another, they have one thing in common—all of them put a twist on what might otherwise be an ordinary, everyday outfit. For example, E’Dawn’s outfit mimics that of office workers in the ‘80s, but the oversized nature of the jacket and pants make the outfit less professional and more avant-garde. Similarly, while HyunA’s dress appears delicate and feminine in its silhouette, it’s also edgy and unusual, featuring movie-poster imagery and a high hemline. Hui’s outfit puts a similar twist on the office worker uniform, using unusual patterns, colors, and fabrics to turn a plain outfit into an eye-catching one. Finally, the masks donned by all three members seem to symbolize the idea that they’re not their true selves until they move beyond societal boundaries and experiment more with their lives, a message conveyed throughout the video.
Although Triple H’s fashion may seem pretty out-there, it’s easy to start experimenting with fashion by incorporating one piece into your wardrobe at a time. For example, simply adding a colorful, futuristic accessory, like a pair of colored sunglasses or oversized jewelry, to your outfit can make a world of difference! Better yet, take a simple, everyday element of your outfit and see if you can put a unique, retro-futuristic twist on it of your own.
What was your favorite outfit from “Retro Future?” Let us know in the comments below!