The teddy bear, the favourite companion of many from childhood into later years, has acquired pop-cultural status along the way.
One teddy fan is Kai, the K-Pop star and member of South Korean band EXO, who has a mildly cute obsession with the soft toy. Kai even garnered the nickname 'Nini Bear,' because according to fans, he's as 'sweet and cute' like a bear.
Now, inspired by Kai, Gucci’s Creative Director Alessandro Michele has designed the Kai x Gucci Collection, a selection of men’s and women’s ready-to-wear and accessories with a distinctive decorative motif of a teddy bear wearing a blue bow tie.
To showcase this exclusive product proposal, Gucci’s latest campaign was conceived by Alessandro Michele and shot by South Korean photographer Min Hyunwoo and Film Director Woogie Kim with Kai on the streets of Seoul, and it celebrates the relationship between human beings and their fluffy, furry friends.
Dressed in the new Kai x Gucci Collection, the K-Pop star is accompanied by a giant teddy as he enjoys a day. The duo buy balloons, go for a drive, dance and meet up with friends before heading home to Kai's place to play games with the rest of his impressive teddy bear squad.
To inspire curiosity and bringing the dreamlike vision of the campaign to life, Gucci has partnered with Seoul-based Pop artist IM Jibin, known for his huge bear-shaped artwork installation, Bear Balloon. Notably, with his art project Everywhere, Jibin created impromptu art spaces by placing huge Bear Balloon in incongruous settings all over the world.
Gucci has produced two giant Bear Balloons in different sizes in two poses with IM Jibin, in brown and white and wearing a blue bow tie to mirror the teddy that features in the Kai x Gucci Collection patterns. As with many of IM Jibin’s artworks, these bears feature a word on their faces to spread a message – in this case, ‘HELLO’, a simple, friendly greeting celebrating the pleasure of personal connection.
The Gucci Bear Balloon artworks follow up on IM Jibin’s Everywhere project and will appear in Seoul’s Cheongdam Gucci store, in front of the Hyundai Card Music Library in Hannam and in the Cociety Gucci Pin – bringing to passers-by a joyful and unexpected memory of the inseparable companions of their childhood.
The collection will launch exclusively at Gucci ION Orchard on 15 April 2021.