Fall has officially arrived, which means that the sunny days of denim shorts and tank tops have gone, making it time to break out the cozy sweaters and knit beanies. But what does fall mean in the world of K-pop? Starting last
spring, designers showcased their various visions for Fall 2016 at Seoul Fashion Week. While chic and effortless streetwear seems to be the cornerstone of Korean fashion these days, what appeared on the runway was a far cry from casual. In fact, the theme of the season appears to be understated luxury. Admittedly, many of the designs that came down the runway were takes on classic streetwear styles, but made to be more sophisticated with just simple changes in patterns, fabrics, and details. In the fall and winter months to come, K-pop fans can expect the style scene to be one of drama and excess, a motif which K-pop stylists have caught onto quickly. Though each designer had a unique take on the season’s trends, the fashions being reflected in the current and upcoming MVs can be broken down into four categories: dramatic patterns, luxurious fabrics, elegant details, and trendy menswear.
Even the simplest of pieces can appear dynamic with just the right use of pattern, and there’s no better example of this than Seoul’s Fall 2016 collections. While many may think that florals are a pattern best reserved for spring, Korean designers are out to debunk that myth, casting aside typical pastel blooms in favor of fiery flowers. Designers such as Steve J & Yoni P used vibrant reds, yellows, pinks, and purples set against black backgrounds to create rich bouquets that match perfectly with videos such as Black Pink‘s “Playing With Fire.” Jenyer, who recently debuted as a solo artist after 4Minute‘s split, featured two such botanical looks in her debut video for “I Do,” sporting dramatic robes that made her stand out against her muted nature surroundings. Even T-ara is jumping aboard the trend train, opting for flowing tops with deep purple flowers that create a simultaneously soft and dramatic look.
For those artists looking to amp up their pattern game even further, though, the season’s leopard trend is the way to go. Rapper Grace, who has never been one to shy away from fashion risks, recently released a semi-Halloween themed track called “Trick or Treat,” which naturally had to come with some costume-like looks. Among the chosen stylings is a leopard ensemble that perhaps is not everyone’s idea of an everyday look, perfectly reflects the trend set by designers Pushbutton and Kim Seo Ryong. The last trend that repeatedly appeared in collections by Kye, D.gnak, and many more is a classic plaid that can be easily styled for anything from classic elegance to punk rebellion. The adaptability of this pattern is evident in the vastly different styling of Hyomin in T-ara’s “Tiamo” MV and Lisa in Black Pink’s recent “Playing with Fire.”
Look to the left: velvet. Look to the right: silk. Look straight ahead: fur as far as the eye can see. Though the cuts and styles were varied on the Fall 2016 runways, there was hardly a collection to be found without at least one, if not all, of these fabrics present. K-pop has always had a flair for the dramatic, which makes this fall trend a must for MVs. Flowing satins and silks are not only beautiful, but have the ability to emphasize every movement, making them ideal materials for dancers such as EXO‘s Lay, who recently sported a chic crimson button-up in his video for “Lose Control.” Everyone from Hyolyn to BTS is making use of crushed velvet, which not only has a luxurious appearance, but comes to life under the right lighting, making it move and shimmer in a way that’s perfect for the camera. No one has committed quite as fully to this look, though, as BtoB whose latest music video shows the group decked out from head to toe in burgundy velvet suits.
On the fall runways, fur was just as dominant, if not more so, than velvet, appearing in big or small ways in nearly every single collection. Miryo & Giant Pink chose to roll with this trend in their collaboration video for “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” both donning opulent jackets seen in collections by designers such as Fleamadonna. Trend masters Black Pink take the cake this time, though, as they featured several looks straight off the Rocket x Lunch and R.Shemiste runways in the MVs for “Playing with Fire” and “Stay.”
Minimalism is not the name of the game this Fall, which means plain dress shirts are not going to cut it in the fashion world. In order to keep up with the trends, artists such as Black Pink and N.CA are decking out plain dress wear with a little more flair, including ruffled sleeved and large collar ribbons. In keeping with the seasonal theme of opulence, this look pays homage to the fashion of Renaissance nobility, making it an obvious choice for modern K-pop royalty. In the final installment of their Conception trilogy, VIXX went above and beyond the call of fashion duty, going one step further than even designers Pushbutton and Blindess by bedazzling their collar details. “The Closer” video is extremely dim lit, which keeps these flashy accessories fairly hidden, but when the light catches them, they create an unrivaled sense of drama. T-ara’s use of this trend in their latest comeback is perhaps the most seasonally appropriate, though, as the members themselves are wrapped up with bows, ribbons, and frills, just like beautiful little presents.
Menswear is all the rage right now, but we’re not talking about your grandpa’s suit jackets. Variations on the classic suit, such as oversized, military, and embellished are all within the trend scope at the moment. Charms’ entire Fall 2016 runway was devoted to olive green and black military styles, placing particular emphasis on chic yet tough outerwear. This style influence can be seen in EXO CBX‘s “Hey Mama!” MV and was an obvious choice for B.A.P‘s espionage-themed video for “Skydive.” Some prefer the style of designer Kim Seo Ryong, who is known for his expertly tailored yet occasionally flashy suits. After he sent classic suits with a pop of white embellishment down the runway, Boys24 was quick to pick it up, sporting a similar look in their “E (Unit Yellow Ver.)” release.
Of course, the title of menswear does not mean that women are excluded from the trend, a statement of which Miryo & Giant Pink are proof. It goes without saying that Black Pink was also immediately on scene, using a more subdued version of the oversized jacket seen in Pushbutton’s Fall 2016 collection to create a chic and edgy business casual look for Lisa.
In mid-October, Seoul Fashion Week gave the masses a glimpse at what the styles for spring 2017 would look like. If K-pop stylists catch on to next season’s trends as quickly as they caught onto that of Fall 2016 (which they inevitably will), then fans can expect to see a vastly different fashion scene in just a few months’ time. Interestingly enough, many of the materials and patterns remain, but they have been used to create a kind of futuristic fashion, with some designers edging toward high-tech science fiction and others leaning towards dystopian anarchy. Spring should prove to be exciting and dramatic in its own way, but for now, take the time to soak up the lavish fashion landscape of the months to come.
(Images via Big Hit Entertainment, CJ E&M, Cube Entertainment, Jellyfish Entertainment, JJ Holic Media, MBK Entertainment, Mystic Entertainment, SM Entertainment, Starship Entertainment,TS Entertainment, Vogue, YG Entertainment, YYAC)