From their ethereal lace and tulle nightdresses worn on a snowy winter’s night to their casual holiday inspired outerwear worn while waiting to exchange gifts with a special someone to the angelic elements of their dance and performance attire, KARA’s “Winter Magic” balances many aspects of the winter season. Their three different styles capture the wispiness of delicate fabrics, the coziness and warmth of soft, heavy fabrics, the metallic glimmer of a silver bell or the reflective surface of a Christmas ornament, and the smoothness of an angel’s wings.

Points of fashion: Lace and Tulle

When thinking of the blistering winter nights to come, the thought of sitting with your knees folded up beneath your chin as you look out onto the fallen snow, wrapped up in a blanket whilst sipping on a mug of marshmallow garnished hot cocoa may come to mind. The hot chocolate filling you with warmth as would the embracing aroma of burning wood from a fireplace. The winter season, especially the holidays, inspires memories of those cozy nights spent indoors escaping the bitter cold as well as the soft glow of tiny electric lights in the pine sap scented darkness. In the gossamer gleam of candle-flame shaped light bulbs and dimmed studio lights, whether cinched at the waist or loose fitting, KARA’s dress inspired nightgowns are as enchanting as the holiday season.

Ranging from white to ivory cream, their nightdresses bell out into A-line skirts, and are either tiered like Jiyoung and Goo Hara’s, or embellished with tulle like Seungyeon, Gyuri and Nicole’s. They fall at different lengths below the knees with exception of Nicole’s and some are accentuated by decorative lace at the hemline. Also highlighted by lace, their necklines range from scoop to v-neck and, in Goo Hara’s case, the lace creates the lovely illusion of a sweetheart cut. The sleeves to Seungyeon’s nightdress and Gyuri’s top, are also decorated with lace but woven from cotton rather than silk giving it a slightly tougher look without losing femininity.

Nicole and Gyuri’s night attire stand out the most. Despite showcasing the overall elements of lace and tulle, Nicole’s drawstring tulle sleeved nightdress falls above the knee and almost resembles an actual dress deviating from the suggestiveness of a vintage piece illustrated by the other gowns. Gyuri’s seems to be a long loose fitting top paired with a tulle skirt. Yet, the bell shaped sleeves of her top are reminiscent of nightgowns from the early 18th century keeping a balance between modern and dated—a fitting outfit for the leader.

 Points of fashion: Winter Accessories

In KARA’s original MV to “Winter Magic”, each member shares the same storyline. Each leaves their respective homes with a gift for a special someone. Yet, as they patiently wait for him, something goes wrong. Goo Hara drops her flowerpot uprooting the pair of tulips. Seungyeon’s unfinished scarf is in danger of unraveling. Jiyoung either has eaten most of the gummy bears or used them to write messages in kanji, and Nicole realizes that the hot drink for the cookies has now gone cold. Each member also shares a basic fashion theme. Dressed entirely in white (with the exception of Gyuri whose outfit is concealed by her coat), each member has paired a winter accessory with their outerwear. While Jiyoung and Gyuri are wearing actual coats (Jiyoung’s being a cape in matching red), the others, although cute, aren’t realistically dressed for sudden snowy weather but this is a music video after all.

Seungyoung wears a simple skirt, an off white fleece cardigan paired with a white cable knit scarf, and thigh-high heeled boots resembling Gyuri’s who has paired hers with a winter themed scarf, and a red coat embellished with gold buttons on the front and at the cuffs. Goo Hara wears a cream-colored shawl over a white sweater matched with a pair of white fluffy mittens. Her light brown snow boots fold over at the shaft displaying their fur lining.

Jiyoung, who wears her boots in the same fashion, is also wearing a white top and bottom but with a hooded cape which has a subtle, pleasant fairy-tale appearance. Although she isn’t seen wearing them until well into the video, Jiyoung protects her ears with a pair of white fluffy earmuffs which are, in general, the least popular winter accessory that one only remembers owning as a child. While hers is a simple ensemble, this maknae’s outfit encompasses the “magical” side of winter the best. Here, Nicole seems to be the piece that unites all the others, by being dressed entirely in white, from furry scarf and slouchy sweater to her downy snow boots.

 Points of fashion: Mirror Belt, Sheer Printed Fabric, Feathers and Metallic Accents

In KARA’s X’mas version MV, a dance sequence as well as additional close-up shots of the group replaces the previous storyline. Their dance outfits are those they’ve worn during their live promotional performance on Music Japan this mid-October as well as others like the Music Fair; alternating these outfits with those worn on the photo book cover to their mini-album. Displaying different elements like printed sheer fabric, feather and metallic rhinestone accents, the centerpiece to their performance attire is the wide mirror belt, which is placed high on the waistline giving the illusion of longer legs. Their metallic silver peep toe heels tie in with the belt and give the look a certain longevity that may last through the holiday season until New Years.

Jiyoung’s long sleeved, collared button down has the same pattern as Nicole and Seungyeon’s tops. Although the solid white of Jiyoung’s collar and cuffs add a nice touch, the pocket flaps are a superfluous yet tolerable detail. Her feathered skirt, because of its length, complements her rather than adding too much emphasis on her lower half. Nicole’s outfit, although the simplest, with its diagonal cut made by the printed and solid fabric as well as its one downy sleeve keeps it from being completely forgettable.

With Goo Hara, her dress displays these same asymmetrical lines yet with surprising symmetry considering that, its one sleeve (detailed by metallic accents) and its feathered skirt fall in the same angle. Juxtaposing Nicole’s body suit, Seungyeon’s carries every element–from the sheer printed top, its feathered quarter sleeves to the rhinestone detailed high-scooped neckline–without overwhelming the eye.

Gyuri’s is also detailed by feathers that fan out at the shoulders giving her an angelic appearance and complementing the angles made by the low v-neckline which is accentuated by rhinestones that also line the hem of her tunic. The overlapping design of her skirt also makes a clean angle along the hemline resembling the top of a right triangle adding a subtle balance to the look.

With its simplicity in storyline and studio sets, KARA’s “Winter Magic” MV emphasizes on the different elements pertaining to each style worn by the group as well as their dewy, natural complexions. Although the single was released in early October during their Korean promotions for Step, they’ve sold over 100,000 units making Winter Magic their 5th album to be certified as “Gold Album for Foreign Music” by the Japanese Record Association.

Their single “Winter Magic” along with other hits like “Jet Coaster Love”, “Jumping” and “Mister” are some of the tracks listed on their new album Super Girl which has already placed as #1 album on iTunes Japan (physical copies released on November 23rd ). Considering KARA’s current popularity as well as the 400,000 copies sold last December for Girls Talk, one can be sure that the group’s success in Japan has yet to ebb. This will be their final Japanese album before their contract with Universal Sigma expires.

So, tell us. What are your views on KARA’s “Winter Magic” and their current success in Japan?

(Universal Sigma, YouTube[1])