We are fascinated with the Kpop phenomenon that is starting to radiate on large Europeans communities. We asked Claire Solery, passionate follower of Korean culture, to tell us about current star G-Dragon. Claire is the author of Out of Korea, where she shares visual and artistic observations from Korea, especially if they have a link with France. Contemporary art, photos, cinema and Kpop are her main interests. She currently is in Seoul and you can follow her tumblr “One month in Seoul” and on Twitter (Out_Of_Korea).
The post is originally in French, but has already been translated in Vietnamese, Spanish and English: what a community!
On June 28th during the men’s fashion week in Paris, a mini hunt happened on Twitter. Photos of G-Dragon (aka GD), leader of South Korean boys band Big Bang, attending fashion shows of Rick Owens, J. Juun and Yohji Yamamoto were posted on social networks. These attracted a handful of young girls and very young women, motivated to get a glimpse of his pink hair in Paris.
G-Dragon, whose real name Kwon Jiyong, 23, is not known to ‘people’ authorities and fashion experts but he has attracted the attention of a few online publications with his style. In Asia, he is one of the most famous male personalities, one of the headliners in Kpop or Korean Pop, the current worldwide purveyor of boy and girl bands that is slowly but surely penetrating the tweens market. An idol for teens who are in search of a stature in haute couture. Paris is a trophy for any respectable fashionista. Music will wait, make way for fashion.
G-Dragon is a fashionista and what comes closest to a diva in the Korean pop world. Kpop systematically establishes “idols”, backed with a concept, hair color, looks, and fits them into predetermined boxes [stereotypes]. A narrow world, where the body no longer belongs to the owner.
G-Dragon was only 8 years old when he became a “trainee” at SM Entertainment, the largest idol agency in the kingdom of Kpop. He left at 13 to join YG Entertainment who are known for promoting their artists’ individualities a little more. He was made leader of a team of 5 boys “with strong personalities,” among which he is the most flamboyant and logically became the group’s dynamo.
G-Dragon also rolls in style: partnerships between YG and creators, who have well understood the importance of positioning in an environment where idols are overexposed to the media and imitated by their fans, have granted him an opened closet to Givenchy, Balmain or Comme des Garçons. He’s a brand with his own trademark. He controls his aesthetics as much as possible and refines his connections in the West.
G-Dragon was also involved in some troubles that may seem trivial to us: marijuana, controversy over his compositions, picture of a flower made with a 50,000 won bill.
More interesting is his sexual ambiguity can trouble us, European people.
G-Dragon is not a drag, not a second Lady Gaga or a Daphne Guiness. Other idols can fall under this label, but he is the perfect embodiment of the triumphant androgyne. His cat’s eyes, his slender silhouette which naturally fits women’s clothes, and his brat voice effortlessly places him at the gender crossroads.
G-Dragon has been able to navigate in a world of restrictions to build himself an image of an icon. An idol is a work on which everything can be projected, and that sends you its light back; the perfect recipe to overheat the sexuality of young debutants. On the eve of the release of his next album on August 25, G-Dragon truly is the Kpop icon for he is full of assets: man,woman, blond, brown,pink, individual, group member. He is at the image of Kpop, very aggressive in his visual impact, all the more forthright, protean and experimental, like Kpop itself, in a sort of glorious and eccentric adolescence.
Credit: Ouley_Soleil @ Twitter for the translation!