Blackpink’s Jennie sets Chinese socials abuzz with Gentle Monster collab

    Gentle Monster’s latest release combines Gen Z favorites: capybaras, pink bows, and K-pop. Here’s why the eyewear brand keeps winning in China.
    Photo: Gentle Monster
      Published   in Collaborations

    What happened

    Blackpink member Jennie Kim’s latest collaboration is every coquette girl’s dream.

    On May 1, the K-pop star will release a collection with South Korean eyewear brand Gentle Monster, featuring eight frames and 11 charms. The “Jentle Salon” collection will be unveiled at pop-ups across 13 cities, including Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, and Taipei.

    The tie-up was teased on Jennie’s Instagram account on April 20 and quickly garnered over 4.4 million likes. This coincides with her cameo in K-pop singer Zico’s new song, Spot!, which will be released on April 26.

    View post on Instagram

    On Xiaohongshu, the hashtag #Jentlesalon has amassed 1.8 million views as influencers open their giant present-like PR boxes. Inside reveals a unicorn doll, four pairs of sunglasses, a pair of reading glasses, a pink comb, and several charms, including bows, pearls, and a capybara, which is said to be the artist’s favorite animal.

    The Jing Take

    Cute and whimsical, Gentle Monster knows the way to Gen Z consumers’ hearts. The collection’s coquettish aesthetic, characterized by bows, pearls, and other hyper-feminine touches, continues to be popular on Xiaohongshu, with related hashtags such as “sweet girl outfit” (甜妹穿搭), “bowtie” (蝴蝶结), “pink outfits” (粉色穿搭), and “coquette” accumulating 1.3 billion, 905 million, 551 million, and 1.8 million views, respectively.

    The PR box contains five glasses, a comb, and various charms. Photo: Gentle Monster
    The PR box contains five glasses, a comb, and various charms. Photo: Gentle Monster

    “The new series has such girly vibes,” writes user Who Is the Beautiful Girl (@谁是美少女) on Xiaohongshu. “The unicorn in the unboxing video alone was enough to make me scream. And I didn’t expect the contents of the gift box to be even more stunning! The key is that there’s also a capybara!”

    In particular, Jennie’s capybara pendant is garnering praise from Chinese netizens. After the song Capybara went viral on TikTok in early 2023, the giant rodent has charmed netizens around the world with its cute looks and calm demeanor. On Xiaohongshu, “capybara” (卡皮巴拉) has attracted over 480 million views.

    “The collaboration with Jennie perfectly captures all kinds of popular elements. There are so many cute accessories to play with,” writes Xiaohongshu user Be a Smart Puppy in Your Next Life (@下辈子再做聪明小狗), highlighting the rising trend of personalization.

    Gentle Monster has been on a roll in China. Last month, the label revamped its Shanghai flagship store, setting a new standard for offline retail. Rebranded as Haus Nowhere, the four-story store features sections for eyewear, fragrance, dessert, and fashion. Perhaps more eye-catching are its dramatic displays: an elderly robot couple, two kinetic giant heads, croissants in the shape of workout equipment, and 6,000 cobblestones with keys hidden underneath as part of a treasure hunt.

    With 80 percent of the space devoted to art and only 20 percent used for merchandising, the store attracted long queues of customers when it first reopened, along with 5.6 million views on Xiaohongshu to date.

    Visitors take pictures with the art installations at Haus Nowhere. Photo: Xiaohongshu
    Visitors take pictures with the art installations at Haus Nowhere. Photo: Xiaohongshu

    Whether it’s unboxing celebrity collaborations or exploring retail stores, Gentle Monster focuses on cultivating emotional, sensory experiences for consumers, solidifying its reputation for creativity. This strategy helped the brand achieve a record revenue of $444 million (600 billion won) in 2023, fueled by robust demand in China, according to South Korean media.

    Combining coquette marketing with Jennie’s star effect, the new collection is expected to sell out.

    The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.

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