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‘Squid Game’ made the tracksuits warm

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“Squid Game,” the South Korean dystopian drama set to become Netflix’s most-watched show, is, at first glance, an unlikely newcomer to the entertainment-mode complex.

Unlike the streaming giant’s previous hits, such as “Bridgerton” and “The Queen’s Gambit,” it’s not full of characters wearing glamorous and ever-changing wardrobes steeped in romance and historicism, the genre which inspires viewers with a deep and languid yen. for an empire waist dress or a checkerboard shift.

And unlike other survival films such as “The Hunger Games” (which is often cited as a benchmark for “Squid Game”), it isn’t full of characters wearing cool, futuristic suits as they go. lean and weave their way through life threatening situations.

On the contrary, “Squid Game” is full of players wearing mundane teal green tracksuits, usually speckled with blood and dirt, as they are forced to play kid games to the death in order to pay off their debts. Referees dressed in hot pink jumpsuits and black masks watch the show (and shoot anyone who breaks the rules of the game). Sometimes players take off their zip-up sweatshirts to reveal white baseball shirts with matching teal sleeves and their assigned ID number instead of a name. It is the normcore-ization of dystopia.

According to a spokesperson for Lyst, the shopping platform, “Global searches for retro-inspired tracksuits, white slip-on sneakers, red jumpsuits and numbered white T-shirts have all increased.” Interest in tracksuits has nearly doubled since the series began in mid-September, she said, and searches for white sneakers have increased 145%, with Vans receiving a special boost in the week. last.

Netflix itself has a dedicated “Squid Game” collection in its online store featuring hoodies and t-shirts in the show’s trademark colors and shapes. And Grazia US, inspired by the show, recently published a summary of articles titled “The ‘Squid Game’ Tracksuit… but Make It Fashion”. Perhaps to that end, Louis Vuitton signed “Squid Game” female star HoYeon Jung as a brand ambassador almost upon the show’s release. (Although she’s also a model, the Vuitton contract propels her into the big international leagues.)

Yup: They all bet on the idea that people really want the look.

So consider that look for a moment. Like Netflix’s other widely watched (and sold) series, “Squid Game” delivers a quick, endorphin-spiked escape shot framed in imagery so luscious it almost immediately imprints itself on the retinas.

The complex where the games take place is saturated with the sweet colors of childhood, with settings that resemble playgrounds and giant plastic castles. Dead players are carried in black coffins tied with giant pink bows. And the green versus pink Play-Doh uniforms of the two major social groups have the absolute clarity of us versus them.

For much of the series, the only character that stands out from either group is the Front Man – the organizer – who wears a metallic gray coat and pants with precision with a hood (rather than n ‘any old hoodie) and a sculpted face mask that makes him look like some sort of corporate Darth Vader. Which, given that the show deals with economic disparities, makes a lot of sense.

It also highlights how clothes play with old notions of class structure, and who wears what, heroizing the less fancy clothes on screen and transforming the embellished brocade robes of the wealthy voyeurs who come to revel in the desperation of shorthand players for decadence and moral bankruptcy.

After all, who can’t relate to a tracksuit? Not just because they wore one in the old days (anyone who was on a school sports team probably did; ditto anyone who had a moment with Juicy Couture), but because of what’s happening. has passed in the past year.

Tracksuits have become almost a universal standard after months of isolation. So have shoes to put on. By opting for everyday costumes, “Squid Game” increased the value of the shock and humanized it at the same time.

That’s why, even though the last three players change into black ties for one last meal – and later the winner dons a well-tailored blue suit – the teal-blue uniform of the games remains etched in our memory. They went beyond the basic.

It’s positive proof, if needed, that our new viewing habits are also changing not only what and how we watch, but what we wear. A new Louis Vuitton tracksuit is really not that hard to imagine. (Balenciaga and Céline already have theirs.)

Call it the pixel theory: the consumption of mass media breeds obsession with mass outfits. In the fierce game of fashion, it’s more and more a way to win.

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