By Lee Hyo-won
Back in 18th century Europe, Louis XV made it vogue for men to powder their nose and rouge their lips. The Beatles in the 1960s broke women's hearts with their wispy long hair and thin, boyish frames.
In this metrosexual age, pop singers like Big Bang pull off smoky eye makeup and plucked eyebrows, while "Boys over Flowers
" stars sport pastel sweaters and curly hair. Middle-aged men, like women, are obsessed with perfect skin and thin waistlines.
For the 2009 spring/summer season, flawless skin, form fitting preppy outfits and colorful sneakers will be key for completing the pretty boy look. Women will no longer hold monopoly over floral prints and pastel hues, because men, too, want to be beautiful.
Skin Deep Concerns
In the late 1990s, the word "kkotminam" or "pretty boy" (literally men as beautiful as flowers) entered the Korean vocabulary to define handsome celebrities like Jang Dong-gun
. Among cosmetics campaigns, star footballer Ahn Jung-whan stood out as he showed off a smooth complexion. More recently, "male beauties" such as Lee Joon-gi
provoked both the fancy and envy of women.
According to plastic surgeon Kim Hyung-joon, an increasing number of men are undergoing procedures traditionally performed on women. In the past, men sought surgery for broken noses, but today they also seek nose jobs to beautify their face. Men are also turning to liposuction to slim down and going under the knife for a softer, more "feminine" chin line. Older men are accompanying their wives for a regular shot of Botox.
Middle-Aged Men Contract `Beethoven Virus
Tailored suits, fine leather goods, commanding presence ― and perfect skin: maestro Kang, played by Kim Myung-min
in last year's hit TV series "Beethoven Virus
", signaled the rise of "mijungnyeon" or "beautiful" middle-aged men.
Today, men's cosmetics advertisements are a barometer for male star power, much like makeup lines that capitalize on the beauty of female celebrities. Heartthrob Daniel Henney
models for Biotherm Homme while Jang Dong-gun
's chiseled good looks decorate Hera Homme products. "Maestro Kang" is now the new face of Lancome Men (Open the link
Lancome Men appeals to the older generation with products like Age Fight Anti-Age Perfecting Liquid, a gel-type lotion that hydrates skin and fights wrinkles. Blocking out UV rays is most essential to protecting the skin. Try Clinique Skin Supplies for Men's Age Defense Hydrator (SPF 15).
Classic, form-fitting suits ― styles that maestro Kang sported on TV ― will continue to dominate this coming season. Head to the office in style by matching a slim necktie with a crisp white shirt. Or to spice things up a little, try cobalt blue. Dressed to Kill is promoting its fashionable and affordable line New Start, and offers two shirts for the price of one plus a necktie. Call (02) 2046-8333.
Add a sophisticated touch to your wardrobe with a silk handkerchief. Time Homme offers colorful squares with fun prints. Call (02) 547-3825. Thick, plastic glasses will also continue to be in style. Tom Ford offers a smart pair of yellow plastic rims. Visit Open the link
`Flower Boys' Hype Preppy Look
The allure of the classic power suit is not just for the older generation. The young, rich and powerful characters of the popular TV series "Boys over Flowers
" are hyping up the preppy look.
Bean Pole has become one of the most in-demand labels since supplying clothes for the TV soap. In its nationwide stores, it has installed a "Preppy Look Zone" and displays the latest outfits that appeared in the biweekly episodes. Thanks to the drama, Paris Story Homme (Open the link
), an online shopping mall run by singer/actor Lee Ji-hoon
, is also enjoying high profits for its preppy style items.
As the weather becomes warmer, preparatory school-style jackets may head to the closet but pastel-colored shirts and cotton pants will continue to be loved. The cruise look, made complete by pinstriped collar shirts and white slacks, will be popular. Hazzys offers a new line of cruise style outfits. Call (02) 3441-8265.
The male leads of the soap opera also set the trend to a haircut dubbed "lover boy". Men are opting for a boyish image with their bangs let down long compared to the rest of their hair.
Inspired by the retro scooter Vespa, Adidas also features clothing, accessories and shoes that take on a preppy look. Call (02) 3442-3012.
Traditionally "feminine" colors like pink and floral prints will be found on men's clothing this spring/summer season. A floral print shirt by Kenzo Homme that actor Lee Min-ho
wore in "Boys over Flowers
" is one example. The Japanese label also offers classy white sneakers that shout flower power. Call (02) 3218-5392.
Cast off winter blues for a splash of color with Paul Smith's candy-colored moccasins, which will also complete the hot cruise look. The British label's rainbow-hued Oxford shoes can add something special to the office look. Visit Open the link
The classic sneaker brand New Balance has released a special series for the spring. The 99X series, loved by fans for over 20 years, is reborn as 996 Chocolate and 996 Pantone. Call (02) 2029-2982. Hot in stores is Converse's Colored Vintage line, which features the classic sneakers in pale pastel tones.
Don't let the dark hide your colorful shoes, and shine at night (like K-pop group Big Bang did at their recent concert) in Louis Vuitton's glow in the dark Stephen Sprouse sneakers. Visit Open the link