In the lead up to the release of I AM, SM seems to be even more omnipresent than usual. Sub-groups, MVs, debuts, dramas, and of course photoshoots; all in the name of creating the “all for one, one for all” image SM is so proud of. It’s no wonder I often think The Godfather was influenced by SM. Family comes first and once you’re in, you can never get out (a theory that was subverted with JYJ; honestly guys, way to ruin the flow of things).

SM has always tried to present itself as the squeakiest clean company of all time. When the idols are not singing and dancing their little hearts out they are plaiting each other’s hair and playing delightful games of ping pong.  Kyuhyun even recently admitted he took Changmin out for a meal, bless — although I should probably stop throwing stones from my glass house because I buy into that saccharine marketing with all the gusto my inner fangirl can manage. The idols must be very close considering all the ups and downs they have endured together after all, even if SM really pushes the family angle.

I mention this because of the participants of 1st Look’s latest photoshoot. The models are Super Junior and TVXQ leaders Leeteuk and Yunho and Girls Generation and f(x) magnaes Seohyun and Krystal. The labelmates teamed up for a special – you guessed it – I AM themed photoshoot and the fashion didn’t let you forget it.

I guess after “Twinkle” everyone at SM needs a little while for ruffles, colours and diamanté shellshock to fade. It would explain the emphasis on plainer washed-out palette, monochrome and tailoring. The make-up was equally muted, while the hair was artfully tousled and high-lighted blonde — except for Krystal, poor girl, who really got the short stick hair wise. The lime-green streak is appallingly cheap and tacky; it looks like something a rebellious teenager would do in their dorm room bathroom, or spray-in dye for Halloween.  Seohyun fares a little better; I suppose in the past I have complained her hair is boring so at least there is something new here. However, if new colours or layers were needed, the effect could easily be achieved with necklaces or earrings, such as Seohyun’s chunky jewelled bracelet by Miu Miu , or a pretty headband.

Overall Krystal seemed to come off the worst in this photoshoot. While she is undeniably pretty, here few of the clothes highlighted her youth. The leather corset with the T-shirt and knee-length floral skirt was a fashion clash no one should have to see, while the string of pearls from the Ralph Lauren Collection only dated her further. In her picture with Seohyun she wears a very simple nondescript white dress that just screams “Wimbledon”. The pleated skirt and Miu Miu starched blouse combination was probably the best; faux-uniform will probably never go out of fashion. I also liked her little furry hat and electric blue nails which added a spark to a previously dull outfit.

Seohyun gets off a lot easier and looks particularly stunning in a slinky wool vest and high-waisted skirt both by Rick Owens. My only grievance is that her hat doesn’t suit the teasing but professional outfit; perhaps some sort of up do would have worked better. Her I Am T-shirt is worn over a lilac and white jagged pattern dress that just falls short of tie-dye. I like the experimentation of a top over a dress, as it’s not something you see very often. The ornate flower necklace adds a little extra interest to the outfit and the colours work quite well together. However her photo with Krystal features a seriously unflattering white shirt and a boring navy skirt. It’s a badly put-together outfit that even at a good angle would fail to impress.

It’s probably the hair, but Yunho and Leeteuk do look very similar in this photoshoot, and it helps that Yunho wears a jacket in the same monochrome dogtooth pattern as Leeteuk’s trousers. The sharpness of the jacket clashes with the bed-head (control yourselves ladies) and faded, signed T-shirt. The fact it’s not Yunho’s signature is confusing, and overall the outfit doesn’t seem that interesting or note-worthy. The boys’ photo together has them in plain cream T-shirts and patterned trousers. Leeteuk’s are the aforementioned tailored dogtooth ones while Yunho wears pale creamy-pink skinny jeans with a lilac feathery design. Leeteuk’s necklace seems unnecessary but overall this is one of my favourite photos, even if it lacks inventiveness. Their netted tops from Dolce and Gabbana are an interesting touch, Yunho’s black vest and loose top combo looking more natural than Leeteuk in a jacket, tailored trousers and an I AM T-shirt (although I’m a sucker for dog tags). Leeteuk’s solo picture looks frighteningly like he might be wearing a dress, and an ugly one at that. It does nothing for his figure and the sport vibe seems at odds with his bracelets.

Finally, in their shot with Krystal they are both sporting white shorts; personally I prefer Leeteuk’s as the fare in Yunho’s seem childish. His khaki shirt and dog tags have a military feel which, like so much of this photoshoot’s fashion, doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere. Hopefully the T-shirts they are wearing will go on sale; no doubt there will be some limited edition signed versions available at some point.

In conclusion, the photoshoot seemed lacklustre, as though little thought had gone into the overall theme and aesthetic of the piece. Many of the outfits didn’t suit the idols and while the style was simple more could have been done to keep it interesting. If the film is like this spread, maybe I won’t be watching it — oh, who am I kidding; of course I will.

(firstlook, Newsen)