Blackpink headlines Coachella in Korean hanboks
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Bringing the second day of this year’s Coachella to a close, K-Pop girl group Blackpink made history on Saturday night when they became the first Asian act to ever headline the festival. To a crowd of reportedly more than 125,000 people, Jennie, Jisoo, Lisa and Rosé used the modern moment to pay homage to Korean tradition by arriving on stage in hanboks: kind traditional dress.
As the outfit moved a few seconds into their opening track, “Pink Venom,” featuring each member’s custom black and pink Dolce and Gabbana outfits, fans all over the world has already received the message. Screenshots currently it spread quickly among Blackpink superfans, also known as Blinks. “The way they stepped on the biggest western stage in hanboks… literally took their place at the top of the business,” tweeted the Blink man. “Blackpink are truly in a league of their own.”
Another called the group “a cultural representation of Korea” on Instagram, referring not only to the hanboks but to other visual cues incorporated into their show, such as one of the back- platform areas with angular tiled roofs that resemble traditional Korean architecture.
In recent years, Blackpink has experienced a meteoric rise to global fame. According to Guinness World Records, they are currently the most streamed female group on Spotify, and the most viewed music YouTube channel. Last year, they became the first female K-Pop group to reach number 1 in the UK and US album charts, and in 2020 their album “How You Like That” became the most most viewed on YouTube in 24 hours. (The group also wore modern hanboks, designed by Kim Danha, in one of the music video scenes.) Their landmark over the weekend was actually a follow-up to another milestone : In 2019, they became the first female K-Pop group to ever perform at Coachella or any other festival in the US.
From the iconic Jean Paul Gaultier cone bra Madonna wore for her Blond Ambition tour in 1990 to Geri “Ginger Spice” Halliwell’s Union Jack mini dress, the right stage outfit can live forever in the memory public Especially when worn during a career-defining moment. At another concert with Coachella – Beyonce’s headlining set in 2018 – the singer’s collegiate-style Balmain-style yellow hoodie was a joyful nod to Black culture, especially historically Black colleagues and universities.
The group’s four black hanboks were custom-created by South Korean pattern design brand OUWR and Korean traditional dress makers Kumdanje. Inspired by the Cheol-lik silhouette, each garment was hand-embroidered with traditional Korean metallic motifs, including dan-cheong patterns and peonies (a symbol of royalty in Korea). “It was our pleasure and honor to be able to show the beautiful values of Korea and Hanbok together,” the designers wrote in a joint post on Instagram. “Blackpink showed the beauty of Korea and surprised the world.”
In Korea, hanboks are still worn for special occasions and are often seen on Television drama. Many designers in the country have also created contemporary outfits that are incorporated into everyday wear. At Seoul Fashion Week, JULYCOLUMN’s Fall-Winter 2023 collection drew on the voluminous hanbok silhouette to create structured shirts and jackets. Last September, Korean label BlueTamburin brought the clothing to a Western audience by using only traditional hanbok clothing to create its Spring-Summer 2023 collection at Milan Fashion Week.
Whether you’re a die-hard Blink or not, the look marked an era of Asian visibility, recognition of traditional craftsmanship and a powerful example of emotion seen through fashion – representing Korean culture and symbolically embracing to the past and the future.
At the end of the show, and after addressing the audience between numbers in English throughout their two-hour performance, Blackpink ended their set in Korean: “Until now, b It was Blackpink’s Jennie, Jisoo, Lisa, and Rosé. Thank you.”
Image above: Blackpink performing at the first weekend of Coachella 2023, shortly after removing their hanboks.