Why Everyone’s So Excited About The Gentle Monster Singapore Store Opening

Whether it’s worth the hype or not, you can’t deny this — how everyone seems to lose their mind every time you mention the name ‘Gentle Monster’. The cult Korean eyewear brand earns many fans due to its popularity among K-wave celebrities, and never mind the luxury price tag, even the common among us can’t help but lust after their designer frames. So, imagine the excitement when they announced their Singapore store, and the very-first Southeast Asian outlet. You bet there were fits of joy.

It helps that each Gentle Monster store is an experience of its own; with 15 flagship stores worldwide, each has its own unique interior that extends beyond just the very #aestheticgoals bathtub in the Seoul’s Garosugil outlet. Another reason for the hype, see. But we’ll get to that soon, because here’s a video of everything we saw at last night’s store opening — including, to the elation of many K-drama fans, the appearance of Korean star Lee Dong Wook.

Pretty impressive! Here’s what you might not know though. There’s actually a name for the store — Samsara, meaning ‘cycle of life’ in Sanskrit, and we’re told is “visually inspired by Ron Fricke’s Samsara, a modern vision of Godfrey Reggio’s 1982 documentary Koyaanisqatsi”. There you go, something to impress your friends with. This then translates to the art installations in the Singapore showroom, where the brand reimagines this cycle of life through five different zones, while invoking Nietzche’s philosophy and the evolution of human thought, which is really what makes each store stand out from other retail concepts — it’s not just visual merchandising, they’re easily a visual spectacle (pun, intended).

The Store Design
We’re mainly referring to the art installations housed in the space. What do they mean?! Other than being a visual feast and, almost horrifyingly, mere backdrops for ’em OOTDs, there’s actually a whole lot of thought put into the pieces. Here’s a cheat sheet so you actually know what’s up.
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This piece, called the ‘Camel’ will greet you at the store’s entrance, and it’s a large display that takes up almost the entire front of the store. The moving sculpture symbolises obedience, and consists of a kinetic skein object repetitively pulling string, while the camel, made of handmade fabric, has its humps heaving up and down, in an infinite loop; all this repetition and constant cycle is there to realise the vision of an “unescapable wheel of life”.

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This is then followed by a strange hairy chair in a tented area — called the ‘Lion’ and with lion tails placed around the room as a symbol of dominance, meant to represent the ego in man’s second stage of thinking; the dark space is also meant to act as a gateway between the mind before and after enlightenment, which is represented here…

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With creepy babies, no less. The physical store is actually separated into two area, and after going through the tent, you’ll realise a much larger space with more displays of Gentle Monster eyewear. Along with that, a marble throne meant to serve as a seat of reflection, dolls symbolising a stage of enlightenment as their movement corresponds with a huge blue Mobius strip in the centre of the space. Once again, bringing to mind the whole idea of repetition and cycles. Make what you will of the art, but it’s really quite a trip — and at least far more intriguing than plain shelves and mirrors.

The Eyewear

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eye eye 01 ; The Whip 01
 

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Trick of the Light B1 ; US101.S-04

Can we take a moment to appreciate the other artworks in the store too, namely the eyewear? Even the black frames are appealing, simply by changing up the thickness of the frames, or adding in unexpected metallic elements wherever the designers deem fit. There are also plenty of stainless steel designs, as well as sturdy plastic ones. Tinted or mirrored frames are of course the in thing now, and the brand has always been at the forefront of these trends, putting out rose-coloured glasses, or those in other bright hues. We also like the fit of these Gentle Monster sunglasses — they account for our lack of high nose bridges, and sit nicely compared to most other brands (thank you rubber nose pads!).

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Pencil Glasses – Yellow Pen ; Rocker Fish Grey

Then, there are these quirky ones we don’t mind shelling out for, simply because they’re so unique. Who knew pencils can look so un-geeky (check out how the inside corners of the frame sports a mechanical-inspired design), or an eclipse-like or Venn diagram-like design that exists because of their collaboration with cult street brand Hood By Air.

The Limited Edition Piece

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Ami Adam

More reason to celebrate! Singapore will be getting our own limited edition eyewear, called the Ami Adam. It’s basically a cat-eye shaped pair of sunglasses with sharp edges on the temple, and of course, orange-tinted lenses — we’re not sure exactly why, but perhaps it’s an ode to our sunny island? Whatever the case, you’ll want to rush down to the store immediately if you hope to snag one; there are only 50 pieces available, going at $328 each.

And while you’re at it, remember to take in the rest of the store too.

Gentle Monster Singapore, located at ION Orchard, #01-13.

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