By Ashley Cruz

BTS on the cover of PAPER Magazine with custom art by Lisa Frank Source: PAPER Magazine

BTS broke the internet anew with a surprise collaboration with Lisa Frank and Louis Vuitton for the cover of PAPER Magazine.

Clad in pastel outfits from the Spring 2020 collection for Louis Vuitton Men by artistic director Virgil Abloh, the portraits of the South Korean boy band were adorned with custom artwork by the American artist Lisa Frank, the woman who painted our childhood with rainbows and unicorns.

Bringing pop culture powerhouses together served as an important message on self-expression, which is what each brand stands for. With Lisa Frank and Virgil Abloh, it’s through art and fashion. With BTS it’s through their music that their fans can relate to.

On dealing with differences, vocalist and dancer Jimin (Park Jimin) admitted that “it was hard for everyone to understand each other. But we didn’t give up.” “Seven men with different values living together was not easy. It was difficult for all of us to focus our thoughts on one single point, but looking back, they are all good memories,” said rapper Suga (Min Yoongi).

2019 has been groundbreaking for BTS, which has smashed records and charts consistently. Being the biggest boy band of this generation could bring an intense amount of pressure to these men who are all in their 20s. As superstars, they are always under scrutiny.

“I try to keep myself on the right lane,” vocalist Jin (Kim Seokjin) said when asked about the pressure they face amid global fame. “I feel the pressure of showing a performance that is close to perfection, but I also think that being natural is important, too,” said V (Kim Taehyung), also a BTS vocalist. Collectively, the band acknowledges the pressure but as dancer, rapper and vocalist j-hope would put it, they have a mission to live by.

Looking beyond the visuals, the cultural relevance of the collaboration sends a message that art, whether through music or fashion, knows no age or gender. Furthermore, pairing a brand with aesthetics usually associated with young schoolgirls with a band often dismissed for its teenage fan base breaks the boy band stereotype and fandom stigma.

Like the vibrant colors in Lisa Frank’s art, BTS’s message of self-love and self-acceptance is loud and clear; and through their music and performances, they will continue pushing boundaries with flying colors.

Read the full cover story from PAPER Magazine.