So far, 2021 has been one unstoppable year for both Louis Vuitton and their new house ambassadors K-pop supergroup BTS. With concerts and momentarily, fashion shows placed on paused, the powerhouses of fashion and music saw no better opportunity than to combine forces.
Back in April this year, the French fashion house officialised their relationship with the Korean boy band, announcing the anticipated crossover in what went on to become the brand’s most popular tweet with shy of a million likes. BTS confirmed the announcement with a retweet in a moment that all feels, very online. Recognising BTS for their global influence in music and fashion, Louis Vuitton’s artistic director and visionary Virgil Abloh added of the sartorial alliance: “I am looking forward to this wonderful partnership which adds a modern chapter to the House, merging luxury and contemporary culture. I can’t wait to share all the very exciting projects we are working on.”
While the group has worked with Fila, STONEHENge, Casetify and more (really, the list goes on), this is the first luxury fashion partnership for BTS. And though the news arrived quite serendipitously – not long after the launch of the Mcdonalds’ BTS Meal – eagle-eyed fans might’ve predicted the collaboration early on when the boys first started donning LV during live performances and red carpets. Early hints of a more long-standing relationship between the two date all the way back to the group’s 2019 pictorial spread in Paper Magazine, styled with head-to-toe Louis Vuitton pieces and their historic Saturday Night Live debut in 2019 dressed with Virgil Abloh’s touches. And of course, who could forget that jaw-dropping moment from the 2021 Grammy’s, where each member of BTS gave a whole new meaning to modern suiting? With their track record of collaborations, it follows that something large-scale was always slated to follow.
The collaborative efforts between Louis Vuitton and BTS follows a trending pattern whereby K-pop stars are enlisted to modernised legacy luxury houses and bring them into contemporary consciousness. BTS is far from the first South Korean group to be tapped by these household designer brands, although it is striking to see Louis Vuitton successful tap BTS; the brand was known to have turned down lucrative deals with fashion houses – perhaps to a move to make their relationship with LV all the more special.
Like BTS, girl group Blackpink are also famous for their myriad of endorsements by brands such as Celine, Saint Laurent, Dior and Chanel. This is because K-pop members are more than just seasoned musicians – these all-around entertainers offer reach that goes beyond music, expanding into filming movies, TV shows and modelling. “They’re the Swiss Army knife of marketing because they can reach audiences in so many countries on all these different platforms.” says marketer Avery Booker to Vogue Business.
As for Abloh, having BTS on board as global ambassadors only serves to broaden Louis Vuitton’s horizons. The designer’s recent spin-off AW Collection featured members of the BTS taking over Art Bunker B39 in Seoul for a conversation between space, movement and global bunker. Taking the brand to new heights – quite literally, the spin-off film presentation was exhibited atop a 39-metre tall installation – this is one of many boundary-breaking collaborative efforts to come from the partnership.
CreditPhoto: Courtesy of Louis Vuitton