When you scroll by the feedback on YouTube for Korean boy group A.C.E.’s “Take Me Larger” music video, you will see, “kings of breaking gender stereotypes” written time and again. Generally, the phrase is in all caps. Different instances, a string of emojis observe it.

Male Ok-pop stars defy gender norms each day, although, in methods which might be so refined that many followers do not even discover it is taking place. You possibly can often spot a easy smoky eye right here, a wash of lip tint there, and a nail or two painted with brightly coloured polish. When breaking standard expectations of how males ought to or should not look, A.C.E.’s strategies are typically extra overt and fashion-forward than many different Ok-pop teams.

For his or her debut in Might 2017, the quintet carried out its first single, “Cactus”, carrying sizzling pants — a transfer that earned criticism from Yang Hyun Suk of YG Leisure when three me appeared on actuality present Combine 9. Don’t fret, A.C.E.’s principal vocalist Donghun had the proper comeback ready. He even appeared in a teaser picture carrying a protracted skirt and corset, too.

Extra lately, with “Take Me Larger,” Donghun, in addition to Wow, Jun, and Kim Byeongkwan slipped on belly-baring crop tops, placed on flower-shaped and dangling gemstone earrings, proving that in A.C.E.’s Journey in Wonderland, because the album is titled, something goes.

Though the boys of A.C.E. didn’t need to touch upon their popularity because the kings of breaking gendered magnificence guidelines in Ok-pop, the topic quietly navigated its method into our dialog backstage on the Ok-Expo in September. As “Idol” by BTS blared on the speaker of their dressing room, the members revealed they typically apply their very own basis, take time with their skin-care routines, and completely love pink hair colours.

Usually talking, magnificence is what helps gas A.C.E.’s music and picture within the Ok-pop world. “I feel music is sort of a gun, and hair and make-up are the bullets,” Jun says. (It isn’t my favourite analogy, however level made, Jun.)

To mirror the playful, whimsical vibe of their most up-to-date album Journey in Wonderland, members Wow and Donghun lined their nails in colourful, geometrical artwork, and the latter dyed his hair fluorescent pink for the event. Kim Byeongkwan, however, experimented with feather hair extensions, bubblegum-pink hair, and silver glitter. The pink hair was a spotlight for Kim Byeongkwan. He’d have it for the remainder of his life if he might. (For individuals who are questioning, Wow is a fan of purple hair whereas Jun’s favourite is blue.)

Earlier than that, they complemented the aesthetic of “Callin’,” the group’s second single, which I can solely greatest describe as hypebeasts who go tenting and uncover an deserted home, with a neon tangerine-haired Kim Byeongkwan, faux-freckled Chan, and Jun with rose gold hair and brows.

As for “Cactus,” Chan jogs my memory of his debut look: a neon-pink perm. “I cherished that,” he tells me in English. The look surprisingly labored. His roots have been darker than his brilliant watermelon suggestions, and his curls have been extra bedhead than Shirley Temple. It was an excellent distinction to the black-and-white idea of the music video, and the platinum blonde and black dye jobs on the opposite members.

Though their magnificence aesthetic has been comparatively daring and brilliant all through their profession, Kim Byeongkwan factors one side that is modified — one thing even the largest A.C.E. followers (or “Alternative,” as they’re formally referred to as) could not have observed: the band’s base make-up. “To start with, our make-up was very heavy,” he tells me. “Over time, it is grow to be extra pure and light-weight.” This comes as a reduction to him as Kim Byeongkwan provides that he prefers carrying extra natural-looking basis, and make-up, basically.

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