An entire bottle of hairspray. That's how much product Heeseung used to keep his one strand of hair in place for the entirety of ENHYPEN's concert in New York's iconic Radio City Music Hall this past October. For the final U.S. stop of the K-pop group's first world tour, Manifesto, Heeseung's black tufts were neatly swept back save for a single lock that rested on his exposed forehead. "It was high maintenance," he tells Teen Vogue two days after the show, mimicking the motions of his stylists. "First of all, they make the overall frame," Heeseung continues while gesturing in a circular shape around his head, "and then they spray it inside and outside." It paid off. Even as he jumped and spun on stage across two-and-a-half hours of explosive choreography, the one lock of hair remained in place.
ENHYPEN Take Us Backstage at “Manifesto” World Tour in New York City
Heeseung's hair was far from the only thing ENHYPEN and their stylists poured time and effort into shaping that evening. Throughout their setlist, Jungwon, Heeseung, Jay, Jake, Sunghoon, Sunoo, and Ni-ki performed in clothing that alluded to everything from their first project, released in November 2020, to their most recent one, Manifesto: Day 1, which came out this summer. For many fans who are seeing the band live for the first time since their formation through the reality competition show I-Land, the concert styling was a visual celebration of the distinct eras that ENHYPEN has gone through within a short two-year span.
"When preparing for our concerts, it's really important to build a conceptual connection with the song and our outfits," ENHYPEN’s leader Jungwon, wearing a red varsity jacket with a silver earring dangling from one ear, tells Teen Vogue. It's unlike the group's styling in other events, such as fan meetings, where Jungwon said the members dress more according to their fans', known as ENGENE, tastes. "We have a lot of songs that we have to perform," Sunghoon, dressed in black and denim with his meticulously parted bangs falling just above his eyes, adds. "We decided the outfits according to the sections and different concepts we wanted to deliver."
The concert's first section was all about making the group appear like royalty. The show opened with "Given-Taken," featuring the seven members dressed in posh white jackets that sparkled with gold embroidery. It's a familiar look for ENHYPEN, who, in their first two EPs, embraced a regal theme. Just like how they exuded a princely aura in these releases, ENHYPEN performed their opening songs with an air of grandeur. The ornate designs around their collars and cuffs dazzled under the lights, a feature that ENHYPEN said was very much intentional — especially for the concert's opening.
"If there is a seat far away from the stage, they can only look [at] us like ants," Jay says. Wearing a walnut-toned velvet jacket, Jay laughs as he holds out his thumb and index finger — set a few centimeters apart — to show what ENHYPEN may look like to fans seated in the upper levels. "We need to give a lot of details and shiny, colorful things in the clothes to give them impact." Jake nods in agreement. "When it hits the lights, it's really shiny," he explains while patting his chest and wrist, where the first outfits' gold elements shone the brightest. "The people at the back can really see more of us."
Though ENHYPEN lost the sequins and sparkles for the concert's second section, this part of the setlist was just as captivating. In sheer burgundy dress shirts laced with tinsel, the seven members performed the high-octane tracks "Drunk-Dazed," "One in a Billion," and "Fever." ENHYPEN stepped onto the stage in these outfits after a pre-recorded segment that included imagery of blood and the moon played on the screens. It's a nod to the group's lore that incorporates vampiric elements, which began in their very first music video that included shots like Sunoo almost biting Jungwon in the neck and the latter baring a fang. "We tried to look more like vampires and to soak ourselves in blood conceptually," Sunoo says of the burgundy color.
The hue of their clothes was also crucial to conveying a type of mood in this section. "Because the overall ambiance of the music is sexy, we chose red," Sunghoon says. "Embarrassing," Jay mutters into his palm. Sunghoon is not wrong — this part of the setlist had slower-tempo, sultry songs like "Fever,” off their second mini album Border: Carnival. "During our choreo, we have this motion where we bite the shirt and do the dance," Jake explains as he demonstrates the move, holding his wrist by his mouth and doing two subtle chest rolls in his chair. (At the concert, the motion was performed on the floor with intensified body movement.)
"We needed to have something like a two-piece to bite," Jake adds. Beneath the burgundy, the members wore black tank tops. How much skin is shown is something both the members and their company actively discuss, Jake shares. "For example, according to different body types or structures, we layer our clothes a lot, or we choose different moves," Jungwon adds.
ENHYPEN members often notice a shift in the crowd when the group transitions from a darker concept — such as this second portion of the setlist — to a brighter one. After the group performed the vampy songs in burgundy, the artists transformed into schoolboys wearing uniform-like blazers over the flashiest jerseys adorned with sequins that twinkled from every angle. These looks are also a nod to one of ENHYPEN's existing styles from the Dimension: Dilemma album, particularly the "Tamed-Dashed" music video. For this section of the concert, the group performed energetic and vibrant tracks, including "Attention, Please!" and "Polaroid Love" in addition to "Tamed-Dashed."
"In our concerts, we have many different chapters. One could be dark, and another could be bright," says Heeseung, who's dressed in white on white and has his bangs styled more evenly across his forehead. "We also follow that ambiance and try to change our emotions towards darkness and brightness." Ni-ki feels similarly. "Because the outfits all are in line with the concept of the songs that we perform, based on the mood of brightness or darkness, we soak in the atmosphere and act in accordance to the mood," he adds.
Not only are the artists themselves changing their demeanor throughout the setlist, but they also notice a switch in the audience's energy. "When I'm on stage, I really can feel the difference," Heeseung says. "For example, for dark songs, I can feel the enthusiasm in the crowd, and they are kind of shocked to see what we're performing." Jungwon smiles. "They're more wild," he says in agreement. To make his point, Heeseung threw up both hands by his face and gasped loudly with a dropped jaw, imitating a stunned fan's reaction. "For bright songs, I think it's more like they're enjoying. They're happy while watching our performance," he continues. Jungwon adds: "It's like they have different wants."
The fourth section of ENHYPEN's concert sits somewhere in the middle when it comes to dark and bright moods — hip hop-heavy songs like "Blessed-Cursed" and the group's latest title track "Future Perfect (Pass the Mic)" were in the segment. Visually, however, ENHYPEN were the brightest they could be as they performed in all-white streetwear that glistened under the lights. "By then, our energy level gets lower compared to the beginning," Jungwon shares. "The white outfits are well-reflected, and that makes us shine — and I think that makes up for our lower energy level." The loosely-fitted clothing in this section also contrasted with the tighter ones from before. "Compared to denim and blue jeans, white sweatpants are more comfortable, so we were able to perform in a more comfortable outfit," Jungwon says.
As with the other concert looks, this one is built off existing styling from ENHYPEN's releases. "For 'Blessed-Cursed,' when we performed on stage, we wore street and old school outfits," Sunghoon says of their comeback from earlier this year. Both in live performances and the song's music video, ENHYPEN was styled in streetwear. "The outfit actually matched the ambiance and mood of other songs that we performed [in this section]," he explains. Besides, their latest release, "Future Perfect (Pass the Mic)," also featured this aesthetic. At this point of the concert, ENHYPEN has taken the audience through a comprehensive visual tour of their discography.
Jake says that the group's stylists have a holistic view of the concert from beginning to end. "They really know and have an idea of what mood and style we have to wear," he explains. "But I think each member has requests about if it's difficult to perform — if it's too tight or too baggy, then we each say to our stylists." Jungwon agrees. "Our visual team has more say in deciding the concept. We work together, but they have more say. We focus more on the performance part."
That's not to say ENHYPEN doesn't make styling suggestions — after all, Jay has been vocal about his knowledge of fashion. "Ah, [that’s] embarrassing," Jay laughs as he buries his face in both palms this time when the topic is brought up in conversation. Jake jokingly scoffs and waves off his hand in Jay's direction as chuckles break out across the room. "Why are you guys laughing? It's not this funny," a smiling Jay says to the sound of more laughter. "Just joking, just joking," Heeseung replies.
"I'm always looking at Instagram, social media for fashion stuff and trends that are going wild," Jay shares. "So I just suggest a couple of weird things like some black lips." He's talking about his look during a performance of "Blessed-Cursed" earlier in 2022. "It was…" the artist trails off with a pause. "It was fun to me, but it's a little scary always." "He enjoyed it," Jake says in support.
But it's not just Jay who brings up these ideas. "All of us have our own suggestions for our stylists," Jay shares. Jake agrees, admitting that they all have conversations with their stylists.
The group's performance outfits bring all the glitz and glamor, but they are not the type of clothes the artists typically wear. "Stage costumes need to stand out and be eye-catching," Heeseung says. "But I prefer a natural style. [So] I try to elevate my look by reusing different items." Heeseung needs to get one thing straight, though. "I think I have a fashion sense," he admits with a sheepish smile. "I cannot go shopping every day. I go one time, and I have to take some breaks." It is why he sometimes wears the same clothes. But the repetition does not mean a lack of style acumen. "Please do not misunderstand because I do have a fashion sense," Heesung elaborates. "He wanted to get that out," Jake laughs. A grinning Sunoo nods with an "ah" as if fully convinced by Heeseung's elaborate spiel.
Ni-ki, on the other hand, describes his own style more concisely. "I wear what I want. I take into consideration seasonal changes. In the summer, when I go shopping, I tend to buy my T-shirts. And for winter, I buy coats."
Along with seasonal changes, ENHYPEN is mindful of shifts in climate, especially when they are touring. In particular, the humidity affects their skin care routines. "During the tour, in Korea and the United States, the water component is different," Jungwon says. "I drink as much water as possible because it's kind of dry here." The weather took him some time to get used to. "That's why I cleanse my face thoroughly," Jungwon shares. "I used to do it once, but I did it twice here."
Sunoo's skin care routine is more involved. "For the U.S. tour, I brought a lot of beauty face masks," he says. He also brought a modeling mask powder pack. "But I only did that once in the hotel because you have to go through a lot of cumbersome steps to actually make that mask," Sunoo says of the latter. He held up both arms to demonstrate the processes — one hand held an imaginary container while the other swirled in a mixing motion. Still, he took extraordinary measures to keep himself hydrated. "I drank a lot of water and cleansed thoroughly." Sunghoon pats Sunoo on the back as if to say, "good job."
One day after this interview, the seven members would be traveling from New York City back to Seoul, where the weather is less dry and where ENHYPEN has a few weeks' break before the Japan leg of their world tour begins. If the styling is anything like that of the North American stops, fans in Aichi, Osaka, and Kanagawa will surely be treated to a visual feast.
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