Highsnobiety

There is something surreal about meeting one of the world’s biggest stars in a small town outside Nuremberg, Bavaria. But if BLACKPINK’s Rosé thinks herself out of place, she doesn’t show it. As we hug hello (necessary confirmation that she is both real and present, neither a figment of my imagination nor a K-pop hologram) she tells me how “shocked” she is by Nuremberg’s beauty, and how she’d spent the previous evening enjoying a late sunset out on the town. “BLACKPINK in your area” never rang so true.

But Rosé isn’t in southern Germany for the sights or the sausages — though she did try the latter. No, she’s here for Puma, paying a visit to the brand’s HQ as she’s announced as its new global ambassador. For Puma’s signature sleek, coquette-adjacent aesthetic, the singer is a perfect match – at the moment, she says, she loves to mix up the “casual, comfortable, cute, and chic” with a “subtle, sporty” edge.

This shows. Rosé is doll-like in her all-Puma outfit. The knee-length socks, the unreleased sneakers, the tiny skort and burgundy track jacket. The long-haul flight from Seoul (she’s come specifically, and will head straight back) hasn’t affected her skin in the slightest. No, just the same close-up as she is onstage or on social media, Rosé is perfect.

As Puma’s new global ambassador, Rosé follows in the footsteps of Rihanna, A$AP Rockey, and Dua Lipa – but her vision for the partnership will be entirely unique. This year sees Puma update classic silhouettes like the Speedcat and the Palermo, and the star's stamp of approval will make sure that such vintage, low-profile styles are indelibly printed in the minds and FYPs of Gen-Z worldwide.

If you’re wondering what the fuss is about, here’s a quick run-down: just over a decade ago, Rosé was the final member to join BLACKPINK. She trained for 4 years before the group made their debut in 2016. Since then, BLACKPINK’s (practically overnight) rise to superstardom has been well documented. It’s common knowledge that they’re the most successful K-pop girl group of all time – but restricting their success to Korea is like restricting Taylor Swift’s to the US. BLACKPINK are global; their sound is unique beyond any geographic or generic tags. And they’re not slowing down.

Rosé considers the group family. But in the short few minutes we have together, she’s understandably hesitant about spilling any tea. When I ask her what Jennie, Lisa and Jisoo would say first about her, she laughs a response that’s semi-genuine, semi-deflection: “Oh my God, I would love to know. I hope it’s something cute… That’s a hard question. You should ask them!”

That slight bashfulness sums up our meeting, which feels oddly low-key – like cutting through layers of hyper-produced and hyper-monitored K-pop bubble wrap to reveal a real person at its centre. Rosé is a global style icon, but “prioritises comfort always.” Her go-to chillout outfit comprises jeans, a cute top tucked in, a wide-shouldered jacket “if you’re cold” – and Puma sneakers, obviously. See, she’s just like us.

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Before she heads off shopping, I ask the Puma Princess: is it a BLACKPINK year or a Rosé year? To this, I receive no answer – only a live demonstration of a very good poker face. All we need know is that Rosé’s excited. “Just wait and see.”

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