In terms of visual concept SJM have always been unusual. With the main unit we are delivered concepts that no matter how convoluted they are still consistent.
So often with the Mandarin sub-unit we are delivered a collection of oddities that fit together to form a feeling.
Since the beginning Super Junior M have developed a very sophisticated feeling amongst fans based on the three images they have presented of themselves.
Super Junior M, one of the representations of M being ‘迷’ or ‘mi’ meaning ‘charismatic’. Instantly you have an image of charismatic men, no matter their physical image.
Styling each member in his own unique way, yet with some semblance of a theme to their dress code easily allows new and old fans to pick out a favourite member from the group.
Super Girl is where things really get interesting. The sub-unit is about to take on the tricks of the main unit. To charisma and style add charm and smoulder. In Korea Super Junior were carving a position as some of the most desirable boyfriends and husbands through the image SM had created. Super Girl aimed to put Super Junior M’s members in similar stead with Chinese girls.
Tai Wan Mei:
Tai Wan Mei is possibly a stronger concept than the other albums, but is still a collection of oddities. The title of the album speaks a lot about the feelings in which the styling takes you this time around. ‘Perfection’ – by Tai Wan Mei we should be looking at the Perfect Man, or even, the perfect Gentleman, for if we consider the styling of most of the members they are dressed very appropriately to be such.
Me has the new fan finding her favourite. Super Girl had her desire him. Tai Wan Mei had her fall in love.
My favourite thing about SJM’s design is how their image has grown from charismatic boys to perfect gentlemen – the new teaser interests me immensely
Break Down is possibly the biggest collection of differences we’ve seen, but perhaps the juxtaposition is relative to the name of the album.
The styling is most certainly eclectic, some may say eccentric. Sungmin appears to have a target on his shirt. Ryeowook wears a red fur waistcoat. Eunhyuk has a green velvet waistcoat on. Zhou Mi sports red leather trousers. Kyuhyun is wearing an orange fur shirt. Henry has a green fur tie around his neck. Donghae has donned a green silk shirt.
Siwon’s styling particularly is still quite reminiscent of the gentleman but he too is a part of this new direction.
What does seem quite dominant here is an aspect of fantasy. You can take that firstly from the styling of numerous members’ hair. Some of these members look like they’ve stepped right out of cartoons/mangas/animes/etc, simply put, they look like fictional characters. Secondly, the clothing I already mentioned, there is the luxury of silks, velvets, furs and leathers. Thirdly, each member is either pulling you in directly to their eyes with their own individual level of intensity, or pulling you towards an unseen point of concentration – both of these view points focus you to each member, to his beauty, his perfection, his charisma.
Of course only the mv and album art will solidify my thinking but Break Down really seems to take the perfect gentleman of Tai Wan Mei and make them quite exciting. There is a vitality and youth that comes with the elements of fantasy and fiction, and that is a vibrancy that is also reflected in the sound we heard in the teaser.
I’ll be very interested to see more images when they appear for this album!