reality is weirder than you think

Tag: k-pop (page 2 of 2)

EXO and NCT Dream on KBS Music Bank

SM Entertainment’s team of stylists remain <<<hashtag GOALS>>> on my mental list of all things stye-related. Once again, they concocted another set of outfits that are simultaneously group-oriented, classic, individual, and insane. So many contradictory ideas go into making K-pop group styles. Oh, and each one reflects its group’s current overall concept.

To quote Rachel Zoe circa 2006, I die.

First up, we have NCT Dream promoting “We Young” with a Peter Pan theme. From what I can tell, SM’s idea of Peter Pan is half traditional schoolboy, half found objects with a pseudo-island theme. There are a lot of belts.


Each member is wearing the same silhouette, with different details. We have a bold version of the schoolboy jacket, long shorts all the same length, but three boys in white and three in khaki, and the same red socks, but different shoes for each. Each boy is also wearing some variation a vintage-inspired rhinestone pin. Again we have a cohesive color palette, blue, white, and red.

Renjun has a small red bandana tie and is relatively accessory-free. I feel like he and Doyoung (of NCT 127) get similar treatment as the “smart” ones of their respective groups — relatively simpler outfits, plus glasses and a more preppy overall vibe.

Haechan is wearing three (3!) bolo ties, and of course his red hair brings together the various red ties and socks of the group. He has turned aegyo up to 11 in the performance, and it’s kind of adorable.

Mark gets a striped collarless shirt, beads (?) and a raccoon tail hanging from his belt loops. He also has a fringed grass belt (again: ???). I think they throw absolutely incomprehensible outfits at Mark sometimes to toughen him up. If he can pull off a grass skirt and a raccoon tail, he can pull off anything.

Chenle’s shirt has a face on it, and he gets a full red bandana. His shirt is the most off-palette — everyone else has a white or light blue shirt — probably because he still has fantasy purple hair. Can’t let that hair float out on its own, it has to get drawn in to the whole somehow.

Jeno appears to have a mop hanging from his belt. I like his contrasting collar. He continues to absolutely SLAY this comeback. The platinum hair suits him, and he comes across as more fluid, comfortable, and fun. He’s a great dancer, which I didn’t always notice in past comebacks because he was so stiff.

And Jisung! Jisung with his bright blue hair and his incomprehensible shirt that appears to be a cluster of Union Jacks. He has a lipstick pin and his necklace appears to be tennis rackets (or maybe waffles?).

Just when I think I start to understand the logic behind k-pop styling, it escapes me again. It’s a little like the visual version of “Engrish.” (Which of course is partially why I like it.)

In the same show, EXO performed their newest comeback song “Power.” Please take a moment to appreciate the thumbnail of Xiumin and his fantastic hair before you click play on this video.

EXO is a more group-oriented…group…so their costumes also tend toward cohesion more than individuality-within-a-theme. Each member gets his own version of the sporty jacket, and they all have different undershirts that underline their individual looks, but they look much more like a team and it would be much harder for a newbie to tell the members apart simply by clothing (unlike NCT Dream up above where you could pick out a member based on accessories).

The wizardry in this costuming choice is the SM stylists managed to make pinstripe pants that somehow don’t automatically make their wearers look like bankers or baseball players. I repeat: PINSTRIPE PANTS THAT DON’T SUCK.

Plus, they’re paired with Member’s Only style jackets with pulled-up ankle socks and don’t look like they were ripped straight from the 80s. It’s that vaporwave influence creeping in again. Wizardry.

It probably helps that EXO are now next-level clothes wearers and performers. With that in mind, I can’t wait to see what kinds of batshit outfits the NCT subgroups will get in five years when their members have climbed to EXO’s level.

If you want to see the two groups in action together, NCT Dream stayed out onstage during EXO’s encore. Adorable.

Visual style connections in a k-pop group

NCT 127 has backed off from heavy promotions of their summer album Cherry Bomb (which is quite delicious and I highly recommend a listen if you’re so inclined). However, they still come out for public appearances every now and again because SM knows how to feed the voracious internet fandom content-consuming machine.

Here are the NCT 127 boys at an appearance (guest hosting?) beats1 radio this week.

For the uninitiated // Top: Win Win, Taeyong, Johnny, Jaehyun // Middle: Taeil, Mark // Bottom: Doyoung, Yuta, Haechan

This photo reminds me how much I enjoy the styling of NCT 127. They are always impeccably group-oriented, from their outrageous urban stagewear to appearances like this which are very casual. Each member has his own individual style, but those styles blend into a visually cohesive whole — texture, color, it’s all in balance.

(Seriously, I have literally paused live performances of NCT 127 during the Limitless era just to marvel at the balance of costuming. I should do a post on it.)

On the group level

Color palette: black, white, dark blue, precisely three accents of red (and one echo of pink hair)

Repeated pattern types across members

  • Spaced-out, white based negative space (Win Win’s palm trees and Taeil’s … running men?)
  • Text (Taeyong, Jaehyun, Win Win’s hat, and maybe Haechan’s sleeves if you squint)
  • Densely packed patterns (Mark’s plaid and Johnny’s camo)
  • Poor Doyoung’s red rugby-striped shirt is all lonely (however, it talks to Haechan’s red hair and Taeil’s red shoes)

Repeated outfit “tropes” across members

  • Black hats: Win Win, Taeyong, Mark
  • Unbuttoned shirts: Win Win, Taeil, Jaehyun, Yuta, and maybe you can count Taeyong with his jacket
  • Casual, tousled hairstyles

I realize that I am reading a lot into this picture, but I don’t for a second believe that an entertainment powerhouse like SM Entertainment that literally coaches its trainees on how to describe and market each and every single that they promote doesn’t image-manage their artists for every possible public appearance.

On the individual level

  • Taeyong is wearing Gucci and a jacket: our fearless leader is repping his visual status as usual.
  • Johnny is wearing something vaguely weird, as usual. He tends to get baggy tops.
  • Jaehyun is wearing something with an urban feel.
  • Mark is showing a lot of sock, which has been his thing lately.
  • Haechan is wearing shorts, again, his thing.
  • Yuta appears to be wearing a black shirt and pants under his blue overshirt — the stylists have been going with a “column of color” look for him lately and it’s looking good on him.
  • Win Win kind of looks like a 12 year old boy…which he tends to do always anyway.
  • Doyoung has long, oversized sleeves.
  • Taeil tends to own the “collard shirt over shirt” look in the NCT 127 group.

You can see some of these same outfit types echoed in the stagewear/red carpet appearance that I overanalyzed and distilled into an infographic.

In conclusion, NCT 127 tones down their batshit-yet-impeccable style for casual appearances and still looks perfect.


Brace yourself for the EXO repackage

Major #vaporwave vibes coming through in the MV teaser.

Most of the graphic design for this repackage has been bold and strong, with reds and yellows and clenched fists and all of those typically trappings of strength.

It’s nice to find out that there’s a sense of fun running through the whole thing.

Variation in NCT 127 pant length as an infographic

K-Con LA is happening this weekend. NCT 127 (bless their hearts) is there, like the up-and-coming soon-to-take-over-the-world group that they are.

And while I’m not in love with their styling like I was during the Limitless era (something about slapping a sloppy tie on an outfit rubs me the wrong way), they still look great. K-pop group styling is in a league of its own, because it has to feature individuals within a group, while also distinguishing the group from all the other K-pop groups. Wheels within wheels, my friend.

For this round of promotions, SM Entertainment’s stylists have been styling the boys with relatively standard tops–ties over athletic wear–but varying the pant length and sock ratio for each member. Jaehyun and Yuta both get long pants, usually flowy or loose. They are the cool guys. Mark and Haechan, the maknae line, and Taeil (the mat-nae; he’s the oldest member with a nickname as the youngest) get shorts and tall socks. The rest of the members get various combinations of shoe vamp height, sock, and rolled pants.

Usually when you look across a K-pop group, there’s variation among the height of the members. In the photo above, there’s very little variation of height, but there’s much more focus on the variation in pant length.

Being the nerd that I am, I decided to make an infographic. I also calculated what percentage of each member’s outfit is made up of pants (not counting headbands or hats, since not all members are wearing one). I should also specify that this is visible pants; some members clearly have shirts layered over their pants but I’m not going to speculate where the pants end and/or how long each members’ legs are.

Yuta comes in at the most, with 64%.

Haechan comes in at the least, with 8%.

Average is 39%.

Johnny and WinWin both have the same percentage of visible pant, but their outfits (and pant styles) are quite distinct. Johnny has that lab coat, and WinWin has pops of red in his graphic tee and socks. Johnny is a mad scientist and WinWin is a baseball player.

Looking at the infographic compared to the outfits, I see an interesting way to keep visual interest within the group. If the baseline (their feet) and the headline are relatively similar, changing the midline of each outfit introduces some variation that makes your eye work a little harder. Some members have belts, some have long shirts layered over pants or shorts, some have longer jackets. With a very simple color story, the variation in silhouette carries more weight.

Alert alert: Impending NCT Dream Comeback

K-pop group NCT Dream has finally come out of hiding with a comeback next week!

Teasers are being released, starting with the illimitable Mark Lee.


The vibe of the image is so relaxed and beachy (and basically guarantees that my new styling trick of tying a bandana around my neck will continue through the rest of the summer). Sand, Vans, hammock. Sunny, bright, and relaxed.

I find that to be a curious contrast with the video teaser. The animation style reminds me of Terry Gilliam animations, which tends to skew the feel a lot more dark and intellectual than I would guess from the photo. The color palette is also a lot darker, and the little flying pixie silhouette children make me think of Peter Pan and Edwardian-era decadence.

Perhaps this is where Korean/American cultural differences come in. I’m interested to see how these two competing visual styles marry in the video. SM Entertainment has been doing some interesting things with animation and live action in the recent NCT 127 and Red Velvet comebacks, so I’m sure the video will be a visual feast regardless.

And based on Mark’s rap performance on “Cherry Bomb,” I have high hopes for the NCT Dream album.

We shall see!

via Daily Exo

EXO – Kokobop

The secret meaning behind NCT 127’s ending pose in 0 Mile

I can’t believe I’ve been such an idiot for not seeing this! NCT 127 has been promoting for weeks now!

I just made the connection between Music Bank (a Korean pop music performance show) and Taeyong’s cheeky antics at the end of their performances of “0 Mile.”

And I’m nerdy enough to map it out. You can actually see the evolution.

For those of you (ahem, everyone) who are not tracking NCT’s every move like I am, NCT 127’s latest title track “Cherry Bomb” was deemed unfit for broadcast by the KBS broadcasting network. Apparently the lyrics are too violent (I disagree).

So do SM Entertainment and NCT 127, because they decided that instead of changing the lyrics, they would not promote “Cherry Bomb” on KBS Music Bank. Only “0 Mile.”

If you watch the last few seconds of each performance in chronological order, you can see where the visual dig at KBS comes in, during their first Music Bank performance. I can see Taeyong saying “Fine, you won’t let Mark rap ‘headshot, pop’ on your show? Here’s a REAL headshot pop.”

Basically, bless these boys.

PS. The styling in this performance is particularly on point. I’m loving reggae referee Mark and Taeil is SPOT ON in that flowy printed shirt and skinny jeans.

PPS. Jeno and Jisung of NCT Dream have been recently photographed in hat-mode with bleached hair………comeback soon?!

Mullet hairstyle, come back now

You saw it here first: male mullets are making a comeback.

Stylists have inflicted three different versions on K-Pop idols in the past six months, so I’m betting that it’s only a matter of time before they catch on worldwide. Obviously.

First, example is this baby mullet on Taeil from rookie group NCT 127. It doesn’t come through in this photo, but his hair is a pretty cherry-brown color, with a small fringe down the back. Head on, this looks like a simple haircut with a focus on bangs, but when he turns his head, you get a mullet surprise.

Which is the whole point of a mullet, really. Business in the front, party in the back.

Next up is one of G-Dragon’s hairstyles for the MOTTE tour this summer. The shaved sides really set off the length in the back, and add more of a rock edge, almost verging into rockabilly territory.

via YG Entertainment

Less business, more “all party, all the time.” But it’s G-Dragon on tour, what else do you expect?

Finally, we have Baekhyun’s promo photos for EXO’s upcoming summer comeback. Speaking of rockabilly, we are verging closer and closer with this look.

via SM Entertainment

Baekhyun suits all sorts of looks–he’s such a chameleon–but this is especially great on him. The bangs are so feathery, and the long parts in the back frame his face and show off his jawline.

I’m ready for this style to catch (back) on in the States. I’ve speculated that the Trump era will become the Dark ’80s (as opposed to the actual, optimistic ’80s), so the time is ripe for a mullet comeback.

Is the mullet the evolution of the currently ubiquitous fashy haircut?

I vote yes.


This is not, of course, to forget the magnificent mullet formerly sported by @BakedAlaska, who just cut off his mullet into a fashy haircut. You’re going the wrong way–bring the mullet back!

via Baked’s instagram

(A moment of silence for our dearly departed: may it rest in peace.)


EDIT: Looks like All K-Pop published an article on mullets today too, with more examples. BRING IT BACK, BOYS!

Newer posts

© 2018 Batfort

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑