Hey everyone! Like everything else in life, I kinda suck at intros, so I’ll just cut right to the chase: The next era I’d like to introduce in the BTS story, the 화양연화 era, captures three of their more recent albums. This is what people like to refer to as the “HYYH era” and it comprises of the albums, The Most Beautiful Moment in Life Pt.1, The Most Beautiful Moment in Life Pt. 2, and The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever. Along with the release of their third mini-album, The Most Beautiful Moment in Life Pt. 1 came the iconic “I Need U” era. This is the song that won them their first award on a music show, and also included a music video that turned an entire fanbase into conspiracy theorists.
Delving into more personal issues, The Most Beautiful Moment in Life Pt. 1 (more commonly abbreviated as HYYH Pt. 1) is almost like a coming-of-age story. In the album, they talk a lot about the fears and anxieties that people have in the transition period to adulthood (however you choose to define being an adult), mostly in terms of trying to discover who they are as individuals. The songs are also more direct narrations of their own lives, such as “Intro: The Most Beautiful Moment of Life” written by Suga—which creates a parallel between the feeling of playing basketball and being an idol in such a cutthroat industry,—and “이사 (Moving On)”, written by Rap Monster, Suga, and J-hope—which quite literally talks about being able to move out of their cramped dorm into a bigger space and the feeling of leaving behind the memories they made there as struggling trainees.
The music video for “I Need U” alludes to the idea of growth and self-discovery in the more commonly accepted interpretation of a story of seven boys who all struggle with their own demons (narcolepsy, domestic abuse, etc) but find happiness in each other. The almost washed-out quality of both the album artwork and music video helps to set the tone for the atmosphere they are creating with this story.
Compared to their fashion during their debut era, here their wardrobe is more simplistic and casual, all pretty much clothing that you’d see people wearing on the streets. A theme for this seems to be rolled up jeans paired with boots, and not too much of a variety in color among their outfits.
The second look for this album gives off a boho-chic vibe, with Taehyung in his fringed-patterned wrap, Namjoon’s black wide-brim hat and Yoongi’s leather vest paired with his dusty rose-colored blouse.
They continue this theme of growth and self-discovery on The Most Beautiful Moment in Life Pt. 2, but this time touch more on the good things that balance out the bad in life. Fashion-wise, I like to call this the “Era of Leather Pants and Chokers.” There were a lot of interesting jackets and coats involved in the wardrobes they chose for stage performances, photoshoots, and videos (of which there are too many for me to really get into detail with at this time). One of my personal favorites, however, is this Raf Simons x Peter Saville parka
that costs a quarter of my college tuition Jungkook appears to be wearing in the music video for their feature track, “Run”.
In their second full album, Wings (and its follow-up repackaged album, Wings: You Never Walk Alone), they finally give us a little more closure in the music videos for “Blood Sweat and Tears” and “Spring Day.” Wings and its continuation, You Never Walk Alone, draw concepts from the book Demian by Hermann Hesse and the short story The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin. The main focus in the first part of promotions for Wings with “Blood Sweat and Tears” was the dichotomy (or lack thereof) between good and evil in people. The almost modern twists on baroque clothing help carry out the concept of temptation in youth and how easy it is to fall down the supposed “bad” path. The dark, broody palette reflects the gloomy undertones of their theme (I’ve since dubbed this their Renaissance era). Some brands used in this album were Haider Ackermann, Dries Van Noten, Gucci, Prada, and Valentino.
Looks from You Never Walk Alone leaned more towards the colorful side, tending to incorporate either bright pops of color or more subdued pastels. It reflects the whole idea of spring as a time or moving on from the past. One look was Jimin with his pastel pink hair and pastel blue Faith Connexion faux-fur zipped hoodie.
Special shoutout to the ~$4000 black embroidered Haider Ackermann bomber jacket that Jimin wears in their music video for “Not Today” (goal in life: being able to afford this).