Gavel Appeal: From Julien's to Sotheby's, How BTS and K-pop Stars Broaden and Energize The Auction Market - Lifestyle Asia

The 22-year-old new owner of BTS’ costumes from their “Life Goes On” music video plans to exhibit the outfits next year.

READ ALSO: Purchasing Power: BTS Member Jungkook Caused These Luxury Items To Sell Out

In 2016, when the global art market saw a decrease in industry sales, Sotheby’s Hong Kong enlisted help from a South Korean “idol,” Choi Seung-Hyun, better known by his stage name T.O.P. of Korean-pop group Big Bang.

Sotheby’s was looking to tap a younger market of art buyers (40 years old and below). And with that, they invited the then-28-year-old singer and art collector to “guest-curate” the sale. 

T.O.P.’s fan base effectively created the buzz the world’s largest luxury art marketplace was hoping for. Beyond being highly talked-about, the pre-sale estimate of HK$90 million (P564.9 million) was well-exceeded by a record-breaking HK$136 million (P853.6 million), the highest record sale of a Western art event in Hong Kong.

In effect, the Hong Kong event even topped Sotheby’s prior Contemporary Curated sales in London and New York.

BTS auctions

Fast forward to five years later, the relevance of Korean talents remains intact and stronger than ever. Instead of K-Pop stars using their following to promote auction house sales events, they’re now influential enough to sell the clothes off their backs worn during noteworthy performances. 

Last January, American auction company Julien’s sold Korean boy band giant B.T.S.’ costumes from their Grammy-nominated song, “Dynamite.” The pastel-colored looks of members Jungkook, Suga, V, R.M., Jimin, J-Hope, and Jin sold for $162,500— that’s $122,500 more than its estimated sale price of $40,000.

The winning bids were by Yasaku Maezawa, an art collector, and 32-year-old Hikakin, Japan’s top Youtuber, 

Impressively, the music video for Dynamite held the Guinness World Record for most views on Youtube within 24 hours at the time. However, they still have the title with their single “Butter,” which garnered over 11 million streams in one day. 

The ensembles were available for bidding for the MusiCares Charity Relief Auction benefit, which supports musicians, artists, and road crews affected by the pandemic.

READ ALSO: Celebrity Collectors: 4 Hallyu Stars And Their Taste In Art, From The Eclectic To The Impeccable

Fashion memorabilia

Last March, in a separate online auction benefiting The Grammy Museum Foundation, the seven band members’ outfits from their “Life Goes On” music video were up for bids.

The foundation, which supports music education initiatives, was estimated to earn $150,000 for mostly sleepwear. In line with the song’s message of togetherness, the costumes were styled to exude comfort during quarantine restrictions experienced by the world.

Although the actual amount of the bid is undisclosed, the winning bidder is 22-year-old Landon Annoni. The Penn State University student shares to Vogue that he’s an avid collector of iconic stage costumes worn by various artists. Now, B.T.S.’ Life Goes On video outfits are among his collection, which also includes costumes from Lady Gaga, Prince, and Stevie Nicks.

It seems that Sotheby’s tapping of an idolized Korean celebrity sparked the awareness young K-pop fans now have for auction houses and how they can own their favorite band’s fashion pieces by bidding.

Fortunately, fans who lost the bid can still get a glimpse of B.T.S.’s iconic outfits as Annoni plans to share the experience with the BTS Army. In an Instagram post, he says that “these outfits will be in my upcoming exhibit next year for everyone to enjoy!!”

Banner photo from Instagram

Download this month's LIFESTYLE ASIA digital copy from:
Order your print copy of this month's LIFESTYLE ASIA Magazine:
Subscribe via [email protected]