BLACKPINK’s Stylist “Balko” Talks About the Emblematic “How You Like That” Hanboks
Believe it or not, I’ve actually waited for almost two whole years for an opportunity to discuss this next subject with you! So let’s talk about my favorite creation of yours, Blackpink’s customized, contemporary-style, cropped hanboks for the “How You Like That” music video.
The moment those outfits were unveiled, the entirety of the K-pop fan community lost their minds, irrespective of whether they were fans of the group or not. The hanboks not only sparked nationwide debates around their controversial nature, but also became apparel worthy of international recognition. Besides, they also ended up popularizing the hanbok trend both inside and outside of Asia, even setting off a series of successive renditions within the industry itself.
I, too, was absolutely enamored with the designs at first glance. Can you tell us more about the off-camera process behind the ideation, sourcing and customization of these outfits?
The idea of utilizing hanboks first came from BlackPink member, Jennie. While preparing the costumes, I didn’t go for the traditional variety of hanbok. I kept the core spirit of the hanbok intact, and fused it with elements of traditional Korean styling to create the final hanbok-inspired ensembles that you saw in the music video.
From what I’ve read, every member’s hanbok also had a unique concept behind it. For
example, Rosé’s was inspired by military officials, and Jennie’s paid homage to Joseon-era scholars. Can you elaborate on this idea, with regards to Jisoo and Lisa’s pieces as
Originally, Jisoo tried the traditional clothes of cheolik [hanbok inspired by Mongol clothing], like Rosé, but thereafter modified her costume to exude a more Gothic mood. This is because I felt that her outfit would look cooler and more fitting for her if it was a mix of the more traditional Korean, and Gothic styles.
On the other hand, Lisa was not a Korean member, hence I wanted her look to embrace
her roots and pay homage to her rich cultural heritage. I styled her by blending traditional Thai elements with a classic Korean vibe, and in doing so I matched [her look] with a pair of funk walker boots in the music video.
You’ve just mentioned that Jennie had a significant influence over the incorporation of these hanboks. With regards to this, can you detail for us the process of working with the
Blackpink members? Are they always this closely involved in the group’s stylistic decisions?
Working with BlackPink always involves a lot of active exchange of opinions and detailed inputs from the members themselves! Since the four members happen to be the ambassadors for various high-fashion labels, they tend to take a lot of interest in their costumes both on and off camera, which is why they are always thinking about and planning their outfits well in advance.
As we know, all four members of BlackPink are trendsetters in their own ways and possess an exemplary fashion sense. However, which member would you say is the most involved in their fashion and/or the most passionate about it?
All the members are extremely interested in fashion, but especially Jennie and Rosé seem to be the most into it. If I have to point out a clear difference between the two, Jennie seems to be more interested in fashion as a trendsetter, and Rosé seems to be more interested as an artist on stage.
Lastly, can you tell BLINKs a little bit about the members’ off- screen personalities?
All four members are more laid-back, outgoing and cheerful than you’d think! Jennie is
extremely professional-minded, and Jisoo seems to be the most expressive with her
emotions. Rosé and Lisa are usually quite girly, but they are also the members who change the most on stage – definitely the most transformative of the bunch.