Now that Milan Fashion Week Men's is done, we're heading to Paris where Louis Vuitton will kick things off with its Spring/Summer 2025 menswear show by Pharrell Williams. This will be Williams' third menswear show, and with the previous two taking references from cultures and experiences around the world, his latest offering may perhaps take on a similar slant. But perhaps, as "Le monde est à vous" is what the show is being called—literally "the world is yours"—it may be even bigger than before.

For confirmation of what the Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2025 menswear collection will look like, stay tuned for the show this Wednesday. And for an even closer look at the collection, follow @esquiresg on Instagram as we bring you the action live from Paris Fashion Week Men's.

What: Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2025 menswear runway show
Where: Paris, France
When: Wednesday, 19 June 2024 at 2.30am Singapore time

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc won the F1 Grand Prix de Monaco, and became the first Monegasque winner in Monaco since 1931.
(LOUIS VUITTON)

For the fourth consecutive year, Louis Vuitton and the Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM) presented a bespoke Trophy Trunk for the Formula 1 Grand Prix de Monaco. On Sunday, 26 May, tHE trunk revealed the winner’s trophy, the Trophy of H.S.H. the Prince of Monaco, during the Monegasque National Anthem and Prize Giving Podium Ceremonies.

A Partnership Rooted in Tradition and Excellence

This dynamic collaboration between Louis Vuitton and ACM actively highlights their shared values of tradition, excellence, and the art of transmission. Under the patronage of His Highness Prince Albert II, the Formula 1 Grand Prix de Monaco stands out as one of the most glamorous and widely viewed sporting events globally. The race celebrates legendary champions like Fangio, Hill, and Senna while also highlighting recent stars such as Alonso, Hamilton, and Verstappen.

The Trophy Trunk

Louis Vuitton's hard sided, special-orders atelier in Asnières crafted the Trophy Trunk with exceptional, historic savoir-faire. Inspired by the iconic race, the trunk features the Monaco flag's red on the emblematic Monogram. Additionally, red lines form a "V" for "Victory," accented with a white band reminiscent of the race track. This Trophy Trunk continues the Maison's important tradition of crafting bespoke cases for the world's most iconic sports trophies.

Victory Travels in Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton’s creation of the Official Trophy Travel Case for the Grand Prix de Monaco is another example of its storied tradition of crafting bespoke travel cases for the world's most iconic trophies. They include the FIFA World Cup, NBA Larry O’Brien Trophy, League of Legends Trophy, Rugby World Cup France 2023, Davis Cup, Roland Garros, and the America’s Cup.

Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games

As a testament to its enduring craftsmanship, Louis Vuitton will present specially designed medal and torch trunks for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. These trunks will play a pivotal role in key celebratory moments, including the Olympic and Paralympic Torches Relays. Furthermore, the trunks will be prominently showcased at the Champions Park—a free-to-public access during the games.

In another revival, Louis Vuitton brings back its Core Values campaign. The two famous faces fronting it? Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal; rivals on the tennis court but now companions in the Dolomites of Italy. And all these are captured by famed photographer, Annie Leibovitz.

Of course the mountain that they are ascending isn't just a mountain, it is a metaphor for the two tennis players' careers. Federer has 20 Grand Slam titles under his belt; Nadal's 13 French Open wins garnered him the nickname, "The King of Clay." With mutual respect for each other, these two doyens of the clay courts represent parallel journeys that are inspirations for fans and generations to come.

Inspired by Federer and Nadal's stories, they make for a perfect stand-ins for Louis Vuitton's core values. With each step taken on the snowy peaks, the two men illustrate the point (and how on-the-nose it is) that when armed with determination and a "never-say-die" spirit, one can scale the heights.

Using the mountains as her grand canvas, Leibovitz captures the two tennis legends against the mountain peak. Here we see Federer with his classic Monogram Christopher backpack and Nadal with his Monogram Eclipse version representing his dynamic strength and tenacity.

It's the second Friday of May. You're a couple of days away from turning up to Mother's Day dinner with a flower arrangement that (a) you didn't order in advance so it's pretty much an assortment of leftovers the florist managed to collate, and (b) you're kinda screwed, dude.

Not to bring up an Asian mother trope, but we sure she's going to be nice about receiving a floral bouquet, before flicking through Facebook or her Whatsapp group chat with [insert aunty's name] showcase of the gift her thoughtful son got her. It's no competition, yes. But she definitely deserves something more.

Thankfully, there are plenty of last-minute Mother's Day gift options out there that you don't even need to sneakily get her sizes for. And we've scoured 10 just for you.

Ella Boston bag, MCM

(MCM)

Adorned with the signature Visetos monogram, the Ella Boston Bag in Maxi Visetos epitomises timeless elegance and contemporary allure. Drawing inspiration from vintage travel trunks of Munich's golden era, this bag boasts a leather hang tag and a logo-engraved metal padlock, paying homage to its jet-setting heritage. Red roses? Nah.

Diva's Dream necklaces, BVLGARI

(BULGARI)

How do you honour a mother's invaluable and nurturing love? Bulgari’s exquisite Diva's Dream necklaces might offer a radiant answer. Featuring signature shapes with mother of pearl inserts and vibrant malachite, these timeless pieces symbolise unconditional love—a perfect tribute to the extraordinary mothers in our lives.

Rogue Dior lipstick, DIOR BEAUTY

(DIOR BEAUTY)

Encased in a sleek, new design with magnetic closure, a Rouge Dior red lip never goes out of style. Its long-lasting formula ensures comfort, enriched with hydrating lip care for nourishment. There's a spectrum of shades in matte velvet and satin finishes—the matte velvet finish grants full, soft lips with a weightless feel, while the satin finish imparts brightness and shape. More than just a lipstick, it's also a small piece of luxury that she'll be able to carry with her wherever she goes.

Origami Flowers by Atelier Oï, LOUIS VUITTON 

(LOUIS VUITTON)

We know we’ve been veering from the usual flower choices, but bear with us—these aren't your typical blooms. These exquisite origami flowers are crafted by Atelier Oï in collaboration with Louis Vuitton. It's a partnership that celebrates craftsmanship with creations inspired by emotional material encounters. Each leather petal reflects a story of love and care, reflecting the essence of maternal strength as well as the beauty of handmade artistry. If you want to get her flowers, get her these ones that won't wither after a week.

Collection de l’Atelier, HENRY JACQUES

(HENRY JACQUES)

Made from the handpicked roses cultivated in the House's new Southern France atelier, Henry Jacques reveals its latest expression, Collection de l’Atelier. The limited edition collection features three distinct fragrances—Rose Soleil, Rose Trés Rose, and Rose Azur—in generous 30ml volumes to emphasise the rarity, preciousness and quality. Also available as a set of three, elegantly presented in a handcrafted chest. Limited to just 500 bottles, each a singular creation, this collection is an exclusive offering never to be duplicated. 

Rocking Horse bag, BURBERRY

(BURBERRY)

Handcrafted in Italy from textured calf leather, the Rocking Horse Bag blends nostalgic charm with modern versatility. Featuring a unique "b" closure, it's a nod to the classic rocking horse toy. With an adjustable strap, it effortlessly transitions from shoulder to crossbody wear. Embellished with the iconic tartan-check pattern, this medium version in Lichen ensures versatility and ample space for your mother's everyday needs.

Slides, GUCCI

(GUCCI)

Just as mothers gracefully navigate the twists and turns of parenting, shoes likewise adapt to diverse terrains. Show your appreciation with a pair of Gucci slide sandals—a perfect nod to their resilience and elegance. Crafted from light blue denim, these slide sandals are adorned with an embroidered Gucci script and striped accents, merging style with comfort seamlessly.

Replenishing Moisture collection set, LA MER 

(LA MER)

Pamper mom with the La Mer Replenishing Moisture Collection Set. This limited-edition set comprises of La Mer's hydrating Treatment Lotion, transformative Eye Concentrate, protective Lime Tea Concentrate, and luxurious Hydrating Infused Emulsion and Crème De La Mer. With indulgent moisture in four simple steps, it's the perfect pampering solution for radiant, youthful-looking skin, suitable for all skin types.

Les Eaux d'Issey Solar Violet, ISSEY MIYAKE PARFUMS

(ISSEY MIYAKE PARFUMS)

Issey Miyake introduces L’Eau d’Issey Solar Violet. This new fragrance pay homage to nature's beauty, embodying the transformation of water after encountering the sublime. L’Eau d’Issey Solar Violet, crafted by perfumer Marie Salamagne, merges freshness with sensuality, featuring luminous violet and sunny pear notes. Dermatologically tested and suitable for sun exposure with proper protection, it makes a thoughtful gift as a celebration of the radiant spirit of motherhood.

Airstrait straightener, DYSON

(DYSON)

The Dyson Airstrait Straightener revolutionises hair straightening with air, not heat. Its innovative design allows for simultaneous drying and straightening from wet, without hot plates, ensuring no heat damage. Featuring precise directional airflow and intelligent heat control, it safeguards hair's natural shine by measuring temperature 16 times per second. No more accidentally burning her fingers for mom.

Bucket bag, LOEWE

In season five of Friends, there's an episode aptly titled "The One With Joey's Bag". The central narrative was of Joey Tribbiani (played by Matt LeBlanc), having received a bag from Jennifer Aniston's Rachel as part of his desire to fit into a role of "a real clothes horse" that he's auditioning for, falling in love with said bag. But of course, given that it was 1999, his friends found every opportunity to ridicule him for even carrying the bag.

You'd think that the bag was in a ghastly shade of pink or a tiny purse that could barely fit anything (even so, there's absolutely nothing wrong with a man wanting to carry either) but in actual fact, it's reminiscent of a top-handle briefcase that's far from extraordinary in today's context.

How times have changed, and thankfully so.

The best bags this season are big. They're made to fit more than just the essentials, with some having the capability to be versatile enough to transition from work bag to gym bag. And of course, because we're all for longterm investments, they're crafted from sturdy and luxurious materials that'll not only last but age well too. From Loewe's latest Pebble Bucket bag to Bottega Veneta's massive tote, we've curated some of the best bags of the season made for every man that you are.

Ear cuff, HERMÈS. Bag, DIOR MEN
Ear cuff, HERMÈS. Tote bag, BOTTEGA VENETA

Photography: Shawn Paul Tan
Styling: Asri Jasman
Grooming: Kenneth Chia using KEVIN.MURPHY and TOM FORD BEAUTY
Photography Assistant: Xie Feng Mao
Styling Assistant: Chua Xin Xuan
Model: Aaron C at MANNEQUIN

Louis Vuitton

Famed Le Chocolat Maxime Frédéric at Louis Vuitton arrives on our shores. Marking their debut outside of their French homeland, the chocolates at Le Chocolat Maxime Frédéric at Louis Vuitton are handcrafted with high-quality ingredients. From the Filled Heart Saint Valentine to the intricate moving Vivienne on Malle, these concoctions are inspired by the fashion house and is only made possible through the deft hands of Chef Maxime Frédéric, the award-winning chef pâtissier of the Cheval Blanc Paris. Chef Frédéric answers a few questions about what goes into his chocolate-making, Louis Vuitton, and what fans can expect in the near future.

ESQUIRE: Tell us about your chocolate-making. What makes it special?

MAXIME FRÉDÉRIC: I think that what makes our chocolates unique is the savoir-faire and manual technique, as well as the art of the raw materials and the story we’re continuing to write with Louis Vuitton. These are incredible encounters and I believe that’s what gives our chocolates that undefinable “something extra”. It’s not just about the raw materials or just about the taste—it’s actually an entire ecosystem and story of sourcing, passion and people that have taken shape, and I see that as unique and precious.

ESQ: Can you tell us about a few of the chocolates specifically? Their flavours, ingredients, etc?

MF: Our chocolates are very diverse and our goal is to please as many people as possible and for everyone to find their own happiness and satisfaction, their own little delicious moment. As a result, we have flavours that are very simple, down-to-earth. We work with very pure cocoas and cocoa origins [from] Madagascar, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, [where] each [country has] a specific, incredible aromatic bouquet. But we also work with very French flavours. We use caramel—Breton caramel—or speculoos biscuit flavours.

Then we’ll create this duality between the richness of the ingredients and the flavours from incredible terroirs around the world, as well as the French terroir. This is the magical combination that makes me so happy to be part of it all. So, there will be a lot of technical prowess in play. And that singularity typically comes in the Vivienne, which will rotate with its chocolate mechanism, but it is also in the skill behind our moulds, the Louis Vuitton Monogram, obviously. All these things taken together make me happy and it really makes this chocolate-making very precious to me.

ESQ: How does Louis Vuitton as a maison inspire you? How is this shown in your chocolates?

MF: Louis Vuitton inspires me by virtue of its history and the people who brought the company to life and keep it alive and thriving today. That’s a trait that I also see with my great-great-grandparents who were agricultures [sic] and our family farm today. Now we’re lucky to produce the eggs and hazelnuts that l use in our chocolate-making. I find this same idea of legacy at Louis Vuitton.

There’s an entire history there that has been forged and composed over the years, over time, and which has created this incredible maison’s richness and diversity. And today, that’s what we’re humbly trying to do with our chocolate-making: respecting the heritage and work of those before us, while adding our own uniqueness, our personality, our humanity, the richness of the land and of our ingredients. This human aspect is very important to me and it’s what inspires me at Louis Vuitton. At Maison Louis Vuitton, there’s a wealth created by the people, there’s a history. And these two inspire me and guide us greatly in making our chocolates.

ESQ: What’s next?

MF: The idea is still to enrich and cultivate the diversity of this chocolate-making, to be even more creative, to add even more surprising things, to bring in a fruity dimension, which is very rare in chocolate-making today—we have a little bit of that, but we plan to develop it even more and to bring our orchards into our chocolate-making as well, combining all that and enriching it, through this global gastronomic variety and culture, and French savoir-faire.

The local chapter of Le Chocolat Maxime Frédéric at Louis Vuitton is located at 2 Bayfront Ave, B1-38/39 Louis Vuitton Island Store

Pharrell Williams and Tyler, the Creator share a longstanding collaboration in the music industry, with many of Tyler’s songs produced by Williams. They also feature in each other’s tracks, including Williams' 2022 single “Cash In Cash Out” and Tyler’s “IFHY” from his 2013 album Wolf. The close friends are in constant creative dialogues and thrive on it. Taking it to a new level, the Louis Vuitton men’s creative director delivers a new capsule collection created in collaboration with Tyler.

This isn't Tyler's first brush with Louis Vuitton having most recently composed the soundtrack for the Maison's Autumn/Winter 2023 menswear show. The Louis Vuitton Spring 2024 Men’s Capsule Collection by Tyler, The Creator is a melodic combination of the visual vocabularies of Tyler and the Maison, especially the one that Williams has established—it's preppy meets dandy with a whole lot of fresh interpretations of both.

A special-edition Courrier Lozine 110 trunk featuring the Craggy Monogram.
The Craggy Monogram with daisies and Airedale Terrier details on jacket and shorts.
The Craggy Monogram on a windbreaker.

The collection features pieces that Tyler would personally wear. “I dress the same in a meeting as I do a performance or grocery store trip, so hand drawing the monogram felt like the perfect balance to me,” he says. Dubbed the "Craggy Monogram", his hand drawn monogram comes in chocolate, vanilla and pastel shades. In addition to the usual LV symbols and 4-petalled LV Flowers, the Craggy Monogram incorporates representations of daisies and Airedale Terriers—familiar motifs from the visual universe of the artist. The uneven shapes of the hand drawn Monogram are echoed in lines and details throughout the collection, from chocolate down jackets to vanilla windbreakers, denim jackets with matching denim pants and denim dungarees, along with accessories.

Known as the guy who turns up to awards shows in shorts, Tyler’s collection just had to include them. Classic shorts and chinos with pleats and fold-ups appear alongside dandy-esque shirts adorned with graphics. With his penchant for pastels, the collection also features baby blue cable knit jumpers with a craggy V-neck and cuff stripes, and a pink fair-isle vest. As a nod to Tyler's obsession of luggages, a special-edition Courrier Lozine 110 trunk featuring the Craggy Monogram was created for the collection.

Tyler's authenticity shines through his recurring playful motifs in the collection’s accessories ranging from flower-studded rings to a Craggy Monogram cereal bowl with a matching spoon. The collection also features a chess set with its chess pieces portraying melted chocolate, hand-sketched by Tyler himself. This is also, unsurprisingly, the rapper’s favourite item from the collection. “I wanted to mix my style and Louis Vuitton’s codes together in a way that felt slightly whimsical but could still be worn to the gas station on a Tuesday,” he explains.

Needless to say, Williams is a fan of the collection: “This collaboration is unique to Louis Vuitton because it’s a natural extension of our LVERS philosophy, building on our network of incredible artists and creatives. There are so many elements specific to Tyler built into these pieces and it’s been inspiring to see him hone in on his craft and collaborate with him for this spring collection."

The Louis Vuitton Spring 2024 Men’s Capsule Collection by Tyler, The Creator is now available in boutiques and online.

If books are windows to another world then get ready for a world tour. Embark on a journey around the globe with two new Louis Vuitton books. Offering sensorial experiences (aside from its chocolate shoppe) from different corners of the planet that are depicted through a photographer's lens and an artists’ watercolour works. Synonymous with the art of travelling, the trunk maker continues to capture the essence of new experiences and adventure through documentation.

Fashion Eye United Kingdom by Martin Parr

As 2024 begins, Éditions Louis Vuitton extends another invitation to travel with Martin Parr’s United Kingdom. From shores to villages, the latest addition to the Fashion Eye collection paints a bittersweet portrait of the island nation.

The book records the ordinary life of the working class and the aristocracy. With about a hundred pictures in its contents, some never before published, it documents real life and real people in the four corners of the UK between 1998 and today.

Throughout, Parr maintains the same mischievous tone established in his first cult series and films like Bad Weather (1982); The Last Resort (1982-1985); The Cost of Living (1989); Signs of the Times (1992). Forty years later, he observes his peers the way his father observed birds: tirelessly. 

Altogether, Parr's works transcends boundaries imposed by distance and space, offering an anthropological look at life in the UK to the world. Sharing many mixed emotions he feels towards his homeland, Parr presents his subjects as they are, flaws and all. Instead of imposing a specific perspective, he simply shows them as they truly are. As to its interpretation? Well, the best works are the ones that the viewers have to come up with their own.

Fashion Eye United Kingdom by Martin Parr will be available in Louis Vuitton stores, online and through select booksellers from 5 April 2024.

The atlas comes in three different covers.
The atlas comes in three different covers.
The atlas comes in three different covers.

A Perfume Atlas

With the release of A Perfume Atlas, Louis Vuitton reveals the tedious processes that go into perfume making. Orchestrated by Jacques Cavallier Belletrud, master perfumer of Louis Vuitton, the book invites readers to trail the creator in his search for exceptional ingredients. Opening the door to a sensorial world filled with discoveries through the words of Lionel Paillès—an author renowned for his expertise in perfumery—coupled with paintings of Aurore de la Morinerie and photography by Sébastien Zanella.

A Perfume Atlas offers an extremely rare glimpse inside the savoir-faire of Belletrud. Through 200 watercolour depictions, it unveils the secrets of the house's perfume production process. Each page follows the master perfumer circling the globe in search of materials and his relationships with farmers in remote locales. Readers will be drawn by an evocative energy enhanced by age-old folklore.

A Perfume Atlas is also available in a limited edition set: the Perfume Atlas exclusive set. It includes 45 phials containing extractions of raw materials specially selected and presented by Belletrud.

It is a celebration of High Perfumery that is both poetic and scientific. This publication will delight lovers of nature, travel and beauty.

Available from 2 April 2024, A Perfume Atlas will be on sale at all Louis Vuitton stores. The limited edition box set will be on sale in selected stores.

From BTS’ Jimin and Jungkook to every single member of Blackpink, Korean celebrities and idols are being recognised by luxury fashion houses and installed as brand ambassadors.
(DIOR)

The year 2023 was significant for many reasons. There was the rise of artificial intelligence with ChatGPT gaining traction (I assure you this story is written by an actual human). A new King was crowned in the United Kingdom. Twitter was rebranded to X under Elon Musk. Meta launched Twitter-, I mean X-adjacent, Threads (is anyone using this?). The Israeli-Palestinan conflict resurged with fierce aggressions of genocidal proportions. And a host of other life-altering events.

On the much lighter side of things, 2023 also saw a tsunami of Korean entertainment as it was effectively embraced as part of mainstream culture. There was no escaping the torrent of K-dramas and -movies released on streaming platforms, as well as K-pop songs that became part of TikTok dance challenges, all breaking through to the psyche of even the most casual of followers.

Luxury fashion brands appeared to have announced Korean celebrities as ambassadors in succession at one point. K-pop group Stray Kids' Felix and Hyunjin were officially tied to Louis Vuitton and Versace respectively, while Dior locked in TXT as well as Haerin of hit group NewJeans. As well, BTS members V, RM, Jungkook, J-Hope, Jimin and Suga all gained new brand ambassadorships in the same year. There have been at least 30 such announcements made, adding to the growing number of Korean celebrities and idols internationally recognised by luxury fashion brands.

It’s not unusual for K-pop idols to be decked out in some of the latest fashion threads, especially once they’ve been officially embraced by the brand—like Felix of Stray Kids, with Louis Vuitton.
(LOUIS VUITTON)

Brand events came out of the woodwork too, tapping on the popularity of Korean celebrities, whether or not they were official brand ambassadors. In Singapore, it became more common to witness dedicated fans camping out in malls and outdoor event spaces for hours before their favourite Korean celebrities were scheduled to make an appearance. From catching their idols gracing the launch of a new product, a new store opening, even a one-night-only private staging of a brand activation, fans welcomed the flurry of events that the brands have organised.

And like well-oiled machines, Korean celebrities know the things to do or say to get their crowds going. That's not to say that there's a tinge of insincerity in their actions or that they're simply going through the PR motions, but rather, these entertainment pros are used to the concept of fan service—an essential part of the Korean entertainment scene.

Actor Jung Hae-in's first fan meet in Singapore was part of his tenth anniversary in the industry.
(VIU)

The term “fan service” is said to have originated from Japanese anime and manga fandoms. It relates to the addition of certain scenes and imagery designed to pander to the desires of fans, often based on collective feedback. These can range from a romance-led narrative between two popular characters that fans have been clamouring for, or even the inclusion of a violent fight scene erupting from an underlying tension fans have deduced. The term has been used in a wide range of instances since—including Hollywood-related fandoms—but in the Korean entertainment scene, it's almost a de facto job requirement.

On constant watch

Ardent K-pop fans will be familiar with the number of weekly music shows where comebacks—a K-pop term that refers to new era-defining music releases by a unit—are performed as part of a scheduled publicity push. As with every K-pop performance (at least at the very beginning of a comeback), the dance choreography is kept synchronised with no deviations between each performance as a way of reinforcing the correlation between movements and song. The outfits and aesthetic concepts, however, vary every time. And fans notice everything.

Every facet of a performance is scrutinised, but largely for candid moments that main camera shots are likely to miss. And if you think K-pop groups have it easier because they technically could hide behind—other members in the line-up—it's common for groups to be made up of more than 10 individuals—you'd be sorely mistaken.

Fancams ensure that nothing escapes the fans. There are typically two main types of fancams. The first is a still camera setup that captures the entire onstage performance with zero edits and cuts. The second is a camera that's trained on each member of a group throughout the entirety of the performance, including when they're out of the main camera frame. Consider the latter as a fan service to those wanting an even closer focus on their bias (a fan's foremost favourite in a group), giving them access to every moment within a performance.

While it does seem intrusive, it isn't that much different from the hordes of phone cameras these artistes are faced with while performing a concert set. Fans often make use of these close-up shots to be better acquainted with their biases—noticing their performance quirks, facial expressions and more. It's the opportunity to also separate an individual from the unit, and in turn, further deepens their affection for an individual member. And of course, these are then shared on social media platforms with like-minded individuals.

Fancams are employed for solo artistes too. It's unlikely that a K-pop idol performs without backup dancers because the scale of even the simplest of productions in K-pop is rarely small. At my first K-pop concert by singer and rapper B.I. in March last year, I witnessed the whole phenomenon unfold. Seated among a visibly younger crowd, I could see through their phone screens just how tightly they zoomed in to capture the biggest and clearest view of the performer.

The VIP experience

I have attended a fair share of concerts in my lifetime, yet nothing could have prepared me for B.I's L.O.L.: The Hidden Stage concert. I was offered a set of VIP tickets by a friend, not realising that it afforded me more than just the usual concert experience.

Typically, VIP ticket holders are given access to a soundcheck session hours before the start of the actual concert. Idols tend to be more laid back in both attitude and appearance as they perform a select number of songs, both as a way of prepping the sound and an opportunity for a vocal warm-up for the main event. At times, it's a set list that's completely separate from the concert, and coupled with some banter. I was unfortunately unable to make it for B.I's (it was a really last-minute ticket offer) but heard really good things about it after.

The frenzy caused by the appearance of a Korean celebrity at any event is arguably unlike that of Western celebrities.
(ALEXANDER MCQUEEN)

VIP packages vary from artiste to artiste, and can range from anything that includes meeting the artiste as a select group, to more intimate after-show backstage sessions. At B.I's, we were given the opportunity to take a group photo with the performer after the concert. Each row of the VIP section was called up to the stage where chairs were arranged in a similar manner one would find in a school class photo. We were arranged in order of our seat numbers, sat down on the chairs or stood behind them, and B.I would position himself wherever he felt comfortable. All this was done in full view of the other VIP ticket holders who were either waiting for their turn or have completed the experience.

After all the rows had been called up and had their photos taken, the final part of the VIP experience was a last glimpse of B.I. As we walked out of the event venue, he sat casually slumped over a desk and waved goodbye to every single one of us.

The entire experience spanned almost four hours—a three-hour-long concert that included performances, pre-recorded video intervals, casual crowd interactions, a closing video made by fans that was watched together by the man himself, and the hour-long VIP experience—excluding the soundcheck. In contrast, a concert by a non-K-pop artist rarely goes beyond the two-hour mark.

A whole new world

To complete my 2023 Korean entertainment immersion, I attended a fan meet. It was a concept that's completely foreign to me. You see, a concert by a musician makes complete sense because it's a showcase of their repertoire of musicality and is pretty much what a musician does. Actor fan meets, however, seemed a bit strange. Was Jung Hae-in—an actor I personally adore and whose mug has been featured several times here on the pages of Esquire Singapore—going to be acting in a skit? Or perhaps reenact scenes he's known for? I was intrigued.

Fan meets with Korean actors are like mini variety shows where lucky fans get opportunities for close-up interactions.
(VIU)
Fans come in the droves and complete with signs homemade signs.
(VIU)

Presented by streaming platform Viu, Jung was in Singapore for his “The 10th Season” fan meet in October last year. It was a touring series of fan meets in celebration of a milestone 10th year of his career. Singapore was scheduled to be his last overseas stop before heading back to Korea for an encore, and then it's off to the United States and Canada.

The cherub-faced actor filled his fan meet with numerous games and interview sessions, as well as a few musical performances (Jung mentioned in one of the chats during the fan meet that he hopes to be able to sing more, having done so in a number of shows).

It was akin to a variety show. A host drove the conversations and helped transition from one segment to the other, while Jung was accompanied by his translator. In one segment, fans were told to vote, before entering the venue, for their favourite scene out of the many dramas that he's been a part of. Jung then regaled with behind-the-scenes anecdotes and divulged some of the processes that he had to go through before filming a certain scene. Lucky fans too were given the opportunity to get even closer to the actor as seat numbers were called to either participate in games or win merchandise—and of course, an opportunity to snap a selfie or two, which were mostly initiated by Jung. Fan service, people.

For someone who wasn't as familiar with these fan experiences that have become integral parts of the Korean entertainment scene, they do seem a great deal to expect of the artistes. But for the industry, the artistry is but a smidge of the public obligations that the artists are beholden to. Fans are what drive the industry; their dedicated fervour is what expands the reach of these celebrities beyond the Republic. They invest not only in the music, dramas and films, but also in the merchandise, exclusive experiences, and undoubtedly, the lives of these idols.

Perhaps it's an intrinsically Asian trait for Korean celebrities to feel the need to be indebted to fans for their continuous passionate support. And that's not a bad thing, especially when Korean celebrities have become bigger than Western ones in many ways. The fact that they're still as accessible—despite the screams from the crowds that gather to catch even a glimpse of them at everything from fashion week appearances to in-store events—edges them further ahead of their Western counterparts.

Jung talked about his various roles through set props and costumes. (VIU)
In one of the more serious segments of the fan meet, Jung read out letters written by a select number of fans in the audience. (VIU)
Before entering the venue, fans voted for their favourite scenes from Jung's filmography. (VIU)

I wouldn't say I'm completely taken by all of this—the demands of fan service have led to some terribly unfortunate circumstances within the industry too—but there is a lot to be admired and learnt from individuals who take their time to be of service to their fans, in recognition that these fans are who have helped create the unprecedented international frenzy of today.

B.I was noticeably tired as he made his final fan service at the exit of his Singapore show, and that's understandable. As much as the fans are passionate about their idols, the idols too have the same passion about giving back the same kind of energy that, for all we know, could change someone's life. It may sound dramatic but for someone who paid quite a sum for such a relatively intimate experience, any form of validation is a reward.

Louis Vuitton has been busy of late. An ambassador announcement, a recent AW24 Menswear showcase and now, an LV-launched chocolate shop on our shores. It seems odd that the brand known for their steamer trunks would dip their toes (or fingers) into chocolate. But having taste the results, it'd seem that the Maison has another winner on its hands.

The opening of Le Chocolat Maxime Frédéric at Louis Vuitton at Marina Bay Sands, marks the debut of the confectionary store beyond its French borders. Created and produced by Maxime Frédéric, the celebrated Chef Pâtissier of the Cheval Blanc Paris, the chocolates are made with premium ingredients in the heart of Paris.

The Chef

Hailing from Normandy, Chef Frédéric draws from the wisdom of les secrets de nos vergers (the secrets of the orchards). From his farm's chicken breeds to the special hazelnut variety he cultivates, each ingredient is chosen for its distinct flavour. When not sourced directly from his farm, he opts for top-tier supplies, like milk from his friends operating a dairy farm in Normandy. Chocolates are also sourced from small-scale cocoa farmers in Vietnam, Peru, Madagascar, Dominican Republic and São Tome.

Chef Frédéric met with the artisans behind the emblematic LV trunks at the historic home of Louis Vuitton in Asnières. Seeing how the brand upholds craftsmanship, Chef Frédéric said that he saw "a lot of similarities between his work in patisseries and the work of the LV artisans". "Whether it’s a woodworker or a locksmith for the trunks. It’s about handcrafted workmanship," Chef Frédéric says, "and that’s completely in line with our work as artisan pastry chefs, bakers and chocolatiers.” 

With prices starting at SGD30, these exquisite chocolates offer an unexpectedly accessible taste of luxury. Like the Damier-shaped Chocolate Tablets, Monogram Flower... even the Chocolate Bar, each piece is inspired by Louis Vuitton's iconic motifs. They bring across a sense of child-like wonderment and are as delightful as they are indulgent.

His centrepiece creations—Vivienne on Malle and the Petula—showcase his ingenuity and mastery in chocolate craftsmanship. Inspired by the Vivienne music box, the Vivienne on Malle (SGD420) is confection wonder. Made of intricate chocolate gear mechanisms thanks to Chef Frédéric's construction, a twist of the chocolate key, Vivienne pirouettes.

The Petula (SGD230), another iconic mascot from Louis Vuitton, also brings an enchanting surprise for clients. Designed like a piñata, each Petula chocolate figure is generously filled with coated hazelnuts. Whack one open and watch the contents spill out. 

Many things come and go (and come again) in fashion. Yet, the elegance of formal menswear continues to stand the test of time. One may argue that there’s less of a need to be decked out in a full suit these days. But that doesn’t mean that the category has been rendered completely obsolete.

Louis Vuitton’s latest "New Formal" menswear collection reiterates the fusion of timeless elegance with modern tailoring. elevating formal staples with luxury craftsmanship. Following the Spring/Summer 2024 debut, this latest trans-seasonal instalment places a spotlight on slim suiting. Single-breasted jackets are paired with cigarette trousers for a timeless silhouette. It exudes an air of confidence and refined professonalism. Apart from being available in classic shades of black and navy, an option in white makes for the perfect fit for an evening soirée.

The Damier motif that’s been further emphasised by Louis Vuitton men’s creative director Pharrell Williams adorns everything from suiting to footwear. With a wavy motif and pinstripes cut on the bias, it add a subtle, dynamic flair. As if one needs more examples on how this isn’t your father’s idea of tailoring. Footwear styles such as the Sorbonne loafers, Varenne Chelsea boots and Richelieus in rich leather tones complement the tailored options. They prove to be key staples of the “New Formal” collection.

Formality here, however, isn’t just defined by suiting. This new instalment expands the idea of formalwear with tailored outerwear that act as complementary, timeless options. An elegant navy suede leather blouson, a beige peacoat designed with a shearling collar, as well as a parka constructed as a three-in-one piece, all offer the kind of versatility one would expect from a collection meant to be an indispensable investment. Wear them with the extensive coordinated options of the “New Formal” tailoring. Or pair them with other more casual wardrobe staples for an elegant quick-fix.

Iconic bag styles like the Keepall travel bag and the Aerogram Lock It tote suit every professional need. The Georges tote—introduced in the first instalment—makes a return as it becomes an emblem for the collection. Crafted in Millésime grained leather by Domaine des Massifs, the design is sleek, stylish, and hardy such that it makes for a brilliant alternative to an ordinary briefcase.

The suit is dead, long live the suit.

The latest Louis Vuitton "New Formal" collection is now available in Louis Vuitton boutiques and online.

Edited by Asri Jasman

At the recently concluded Louis Vuitton Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear runway show during Paris Fashion Week Men's, BamBam was one of many celebrity attendees. The Thai-born singer and rapper of K-pop group GOT7 easily stood out with his red hair and Pharrell Williams-designed fit. Wearing look 9 from the Maison's Spring/Summer 2024 menswear collection, BamBam (like the style savant that he is) put his own spin by opting for black trousers instead of shorts, heavy-duty boots, and finished it off with pearl accessories.

His presence at the show was quite a social media hit. The hashtag #BamBamXLVFW24—an unofficial, fanbase-initiated hashtag—amassed over 2.1 million posts on various platforms. It's little wonder that weeks after the show, BamBam was officially announced as Louis Vuitton's newest house ambassador. "I am super happy to join Louis Vuitton as a house ambassador this time," BamBam says in an announcement video. "What Pharrell is doing here is amazing. I'm super honoured to be part of it."

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A post shared by Louis Vuitton (@louisvuitton)

The appointment is made sweeter as not only is BamBam now part of Louis Vuitton's illustrious list of ambassadors, he also joins fellow bandmate, Jackson Wang, who has been part of the fold since 2023. Wang was even one of the faces of the Maison's "Horizons Never End" campaign that centred on its spirit of travel. It may be too soon to say for sure if BamBam will be featured in an upcoming campaign, but given his pull and reach, we'd say the chances of one is quite likely. In an official press release, Louis Vuitton has already hinted on "an exciting collaborative journey".

This road to an house ambassadorship with Louis Vuitton, however, was a longtime coming. BamBam had already been wearing Louis Vuitton on a number of occasions years before. And while it's common for those in the K-pop sphere to wear the newest threads from the big fashion houses, Louis Vuitton seemed to be quite a prominent fixture in BamBam's roster of brands.

BamBam in a Louis Vuitton suit for his first mini-album in 2021.
A Nicholas Ghesquière-designed Louis Vuitton womenswear look.
From a Louis Vuitton ring...
...to a Louis Vuitton bag.
Repping the new Pharell Williams-era Speedy.

In 2021, he wore a Louis Vuitton suit featuring a watercolour version of its famed Monogram for the music video of "riBBon" that's part of his first mini-album. The musician even wore a Nicholas Ghesquière-designed Spring/Summer 2022 womenswear look the very same year, proving that the man can rock just about anything from the Maison's universe. Throughout the year and years since, BamBam frequently repped Louis Vuitton—from jewellery to bags to ready-to-wear—in a number of magazine editorials, appearances as well as performances.

He made his first Louis Vuitton runway appearance at Williams' debut show, where he was visibly overjoyed to be reunited with Wang. And simply put, that moment became the turning point in his relationship with the Maison. Not only was he deserving of a spot on the front row of one of fashion's biggest moment that season, it was an official recognition of BamBam as a worthy ambassador of the Maison's new chapter.

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A post shared by BamBam (@bambam1a)

And to have it happen after celebrating 10 years of with GOT7, we reckon BamBam as a style icon is about to get more traction.

Edited by Asri Jasman

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