Truth be told, I’m not the kind of K-Pop stan who is constantly in the know about recent comebacks or MVs (unless the group was one of my ults, of course). But with the quarantine still on-going and my work-related duties on pause, I’ve had too much time to myself; so much so that I’ve spent hours and hours of my days just scouring YouTube for something to keep me occupied.
That’s how I came about making this list: going through the top 2019 – 2020 MV releases and thinking to myself, “Damn, she looks good!” As someone who loves to experiment with makeup in her spare time, I had so much fun putting this list together and I hope it fuels your makeup obsession as much as it did mine.
EDIT: I wasn’t originally planning on recreating these looks, but I couldn’t resist! Scroll down to the end of the article to see how I fared. Judge me gently, please.
BLACKPINK – Kill This Love
With a (very) underwhelming number of original songs since their debut way back in 2016, it truly makes you wonder what BLACKPINK is up to inside the prison that is the ever-problematic YG dungeon–perhaps they’ve been taught to knit instead? Jokes aside, I’m part of the heavily polarized population that actually loves BP, from their few yet explosive songs to their gorgeous styling to the high quality productions to their undeniable stage presence.
Despite the “Lazy Jennie” controversy, I can’t deny how fond of her I still am–especially since she knows how to work a look. The way Jennie’s piercing ruby lid is topped with a metallic stripe down the middle really takes this dramatic look to another level; like borderline clown makeup so stylish that it might even make Pennywise shed a tear. It’s been a little more than a year since this song came out, but her makeup is still top of mind when I think of genuinely memorable looks. You just don’t see this kind of makeup often, you know?
I honestly considered moving on to the next video with just one mention, but Jisoo’s ethereal wet-look was too good not to include. I remember audibly gasping the first time I saw this scene, and even though it leans more on the natural side, the combination of under-eye shimmer, scattered rhinestones, wet edges, and the S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G horizon backdrop was more than enough to burn the image of Jisoo’s majestic countenance into my brain and keep it there. The reflection in the black water, the contrast of the black against a burning sun, the flayed fabric billowing behind her, and the glossy pink coral-esque headpiece truly came together in one of the most visually appealing sets I’ve seen in a while.
CHUNGHA – Stay Tonight
Chungha is one of the K-Pop artists that I’m always excited to see come back because she doesn’t disappoint–I don’t think she knows how! From her iconic waacking dance style to her captivating choreography to her fierce stage presence, I could go on and on singing her praises because she really is that b***h.
In ‘Stay Tonight’, every change in her look brings a vastly different appeal; it was so difficult to choose just one, so naturally, I chose three.
The metallic emerald lid blended into a salmon crease was a particularly interesting look for me, as the brilliance of the green shadow was something I hadn’t immediately noticed until she squinted. Paired with the nose and lip rings, this easily became one of my favorite looks on her; it’s grungier yet stays classy, darker yet irrefutably gorgeous–a feat when you consider how difficult it is to find a good green shadow in the first place, let alone work it.
Her romantic dewy look with glossy crimson eyes and a bold red lip boldly contrasting her all-white ensemble, as well as her unconventional pearl-topped lid in complement to her netted top, definitely don’t lag far behind as each look perfectly shows how dynamic her image can be. It just goes to show how capable of an artist she is, morphing seamlessly from her bright-eyed ‘Roller Coaster’ days, to her girl-next-door tropical ‘Love You’ looks, and now to a heavy-bass club track with ‘Stay Tonight’ that features so many mesmerizing sides of her that leaves me itching for more.
Chungha had already made it so difficult to be bored of her before this release, but now with new infectious beats, eye-catching visuals, and game-changing male backup dancers in heels bigger than my life goals, she’s proven how eager she is to push the boundaries of K-Pop and topple it.
ITZY – Icy
There’s just something about Ryujin’s pink-on-pink-on-pink look that I can’t quite let go off. Despite their more recent comeback with ‘Wannabe’ (another bop that deserves a spot on your daebak playlist), I find this look to be the first image I think of when I hear her name. Her styling was done so coherently from head to toe that I didn’t even dare mention ITZY without bringing this up. Her outfits were loud in both pattern and color, but the stylist always made sure to keep a pop of pink. The addition of the dandruff-but-make-it-cute hair glitter was also a detail I really appreciated, making me want to dye my hair pink STAT just so I can dust some on myself and be as daintily badass as her.
Had this look been on anyone else but her, I may not have featured it at all. What makes it truly distinctive to me is the fact that it was on Ryujin, a member known for her calm stoicism and tomboyish manner. As someone who adores girls that don’t seem bound into a specific category, I was thrilled to see her take on such a bright look and dominate it.
This second look was something I only noticed when I was fetching screenshots since it appeared too quickly that my eyes didn’t register it the first time. Yeji’s iridescent liner accent was so entrancing that I had to go back for it–took a good couple of tries for that photo, mind you. It’s impressive how such a subtle detail, like a sliver of glitter, takes the whole look to the more confident I-don’t-give-a-damn level that their song projects. Plus, the color it turns as the light hits it also matches well with her jacket completely. Don’t you just love attention to detail? But let’s be real: Yeji can make anything look amazing.
Red Velvet – Psycho
I’ve been obsessed with this song for so long that I wouldn’t be surprised if the neighbors are plotting to break into the house just to tell me to turn it off. It’s such a contagious song from beat to choreography, and I always find myself drifting back to it whenever I pop open my Spotify before I shower. Red Velvet’s duality was always an aspect I found fascinating about them, and I love how boldly this was presented with their looks.
As a proud junkie of all things shiny, Seulgi’s subtle green shadow with chunky glitter is something I need to achieve for myself. It’s both wearable and characteristic, interesting yet not overblown–perfect for turning Euphoria-esque looks that are lowkey enough to be enjoyed at family reunions without drawing the ire of your opinionated titas. Those that want to be a little more glitzy will love Irene’s golden halo eyeshadow; its intense sparkle yet classy tone make it perfect for looks of luxury (fluffy headpiece and chunky jewelry optional).
Glitter aside, I also really appreciated how well they wore their vampy, modernized Victorian looks in stark contrast to their youthful rendition of flapper dresses. The deep, gothic lip that all the members wore was perfection, driving the two-faced love that sat at the core of this song deep into my memory. Wendy’s was particularly memorable, having paired it with platinum hair and a deliberately colorless base.
(G)I-DLE – Oh my god
To be completely honest, I never cared much for (G)I-DLE until this song. I didn’t even know it was pronounced like ‘idle’ and not ‘gee-idol‘ until after my shock-induced research. Trust me when I say I sat through a full five minutes of silent contemplation on how stubbornly I slept on this talent for so long.
The track itself is incredibly intriguing, bouncing seamlessly between hypnotic melodies, to light, plucky tones until it plummets into a deep, trap-based hook, jostling my entire soul in under a minute. This degree of darkness (overall concept-wise) is something that isn’t often seen in K-Pop, which leans into the fact that this group has openly mentioned creating a genre specifically for themselves; needless to say, I was floored. Anyone that STILL thinks K-Pop is just for canned cutesy or pretty concepts can redirect themselves to this video and choke.
Concept and execution aside, this release also gave us stunning looks. The intensity of Minnie’s dark brown smokey lid plus the braids, the blunt bangs, and her hospital-patient-meets-purgatory-chic was such a smart look for her. The added drama of a heavy smoked out lid plus her innate acting skills really gave both her start and end the strength to captivate the viewer through the entire narrative and sell it.
As the symbol of purity, Miyeon’s dainty, fairylike look hit the nail right on the head. The softness about her, from the subtle shadow and glistening pout to the small stone tears, and even to the hazy, sparkle-filled cinematography truly brought out her natural innocent charm–such a cute look to replicate!
I definitely do not claim to be a makeup artist, but I tried my best! Hahaha! Let me know what you think in the comments!
Aaaand that’s all for now! What did you think? Did I miss any iconic lewks from this past year? Let me know below!