With their new music video for “Favorite Boys,” A.C.E. delves viewers into a world that melds modernity with antiquity, masculinity with femininity, darkness with light, East with West through stunning hair and makeup. Sure, the song is catchy, but the K-pop group also hopes to grip you through every second of it with these contrasts and stunning beauty moments. “You’ll see Jun and Chan wearing hanbok [traditional Korean suits] with very feminine hair and makeup but with manly voices,” member Kim Byeongkwan explains to Allure. (And that’s just one of many examples.)
After performing “Favorite Boys” on a Korean TV show, A.C.E. sat down in their practice room to chat with Allure via Zoom. By then, they’d taken off the white floral hanboks they layered over rock band T-shirts (Chan in Babymetal, Donghun in Oasis), but all of their lids still coordinated with the same shade of rosy-pink eye shadow. It’s a subtle reminder of how their imaginary world can exist in this very real world we were meeting in. After talking to A.C.E., I realize this was intentional. “Everything for this album — the music video, fashion, makeup, hair — is a fantasy that we can have in everyday life,” says Jun, the leader of the group.
Since debuting in 2017, the K-pop group has been lauded for defying beauty and fashion-related gender stereotypes, and “Favorite Boys” continues to prove that doing so is intrinsic to A.C.E. and not just a phase. “We don’t think there are specific lines between masculine and feminine styles,” Byeongkwan admits. “We just try what fits us. That’s all.”
Within a minute of “Favorite Boys,” you can see just that in action. First, you can catch the group’s youngest member, Chan, pairing glossy crimson eye makeup, raspberry-tinted lips, and pearl earrings with a black baseball cap. Makeup, like this, amplifies his facial expressions, he says.