To understand what K-pop stars Aespa are all about, look no further than the words “queen bee” stitched across the bedazzled black bodysuit that member Ningning wore on the Coachella stage on April 23. It's a bold declaration for an act making its festival debut, but for Korea's current It girls, it's prophetic.
In just 18 months the fab foursome have redefined what global audiences can expect from pop music and its stars, taking K-pop's eclectic genre-hopping sounds and expansive world building to the next level of digital innovation. The members of Aespa—Karina, Giselle, Winter, and Ningning—have A.I. avatars, a narrative concept that spans multiple dimensions and creates a distinct visual language that blends fantasy and futurism.
It seeps into their music too. Their 2021 electro-funk single “Next Level” was a massive hit in Korea, becoming one of the most successful girl group releases of the year. Their increasing success and star power has landed them numerous brand deals across beauty, fashion, and tech. They're the faces of Clio Cosmetics and Mediheal, and most notably, they're global ambassadors for luxury fashion house Givenchy.
In Korea they're everywhere. Now they're making moves globally.
This past weekend Aespa brought their vision of the future to Coachella's main stage during 88Rising’s Heads in the Clouds Forever event on Saturday. They performed four songs, including a new English track called “Life's Too Short,” a breezy ode to staying true to yourself. If Aespa had any nerves, they didn't show them, opting instead to wear their confidence in custom designs from Korean stylist Kim Wook, made in collaboration with fashion label Dénicheur.
For their Coachella looks, it was important to lean into Aespa's preestablished futuristic warrior aesthetic while also illuminating each member's individual charms through small details like bows, beads, feathers, and chains.