K-pop can often be written off as a land of bubble-gum song where everyone is happy and colourful and dancing with jovial spirits. It isn’t true, of course! The darker concepts in K-pop are the ones that tend to stand out more, notably VIXX’s violent ‘Voodoo Doll’ and BIG BANG’s ‘Monster’. And it isn’t just the males embracing the shadows; Sunmi’s ‘Full Moon’ video and Narsha’s ‘Bbi Ri Bba Bba’ both stray from the safety of daylight!

With ‘Voodoo Doll’, we saw velvety layers upon layers and ragged knits, not to mention the unearthly contact lenses. Standard shadowy eye makeup was brought to life with experimental shapes and shading. All this accompanied by the occasional splatters of blood on the screen and the pained expressions of the dancing members as they were tortured through the voodoo doll made for a memorable video that received an explicit warning!

The video for ‘Monster’ showcased the supernatural transformations of the BIG BANG members, becoming the monsters themselves. Again, the use of contact lenses was called upon and with the addition of some crazy hairstyles, the group created their scary image. Rather than just the costume design, this image relied heavily upon the production design and the editing of the video; the industrial wasteland settings and small, dark tunnel spaces really emphasized a feeling of isolation and fear, and of being trapped alone with these monsters!

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‘Full Moon’, the most recent release of these four, brings to mind words like ‘ethereal’, creating a 4 minute visual nightmare. The strong colour scheme of black, white and red throughout ensured a sexy, horror feeling, with the red accents more likely than not being representative of blood and lust. Though the outfits may have been simple monochrome colours with the occasional embellishment (take that feathered number, for example) the lighting of the ‘moon’ and the constant wrap of shadows made for a freakishly unnerving K-pop video, far removed from the aegyo stereotypes.

Narsha’s ‘Bbi Ri Bba Bba’ video is arguably one of the most movie-like music videos K-pop has seen. While the standard components of dance sequences and close-ups of the idol remained present, the rest of the shots maintained a near-arthouse style of cinematography and content. The costume design also created a nightmare fantasy world, with circus-themed extravagant gowns, black mesh garments and cut-out leather. The avant-garde hairstyles, with their sharp cuts and colours, plus ghostly pale skin tones combined with the outfits to portray this creepy distant universe.

 

Which videos did you like the best? Where else have you seen fashion in K-pop, ready for the set of a horror movie? Let us know in the comments!

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