Icon Watch: TOP of Big Bang

Here’s the face:

And here’s his crew:

TOP of Big Bang has held his own as a figure in K-Pop by no accident.

Think of the competition: he’s one of two rappers and five members in his boy-band. There are dozens of groups with some of the same song-writers, choreographers, and similar concepts out there.

Where does he stand out? Let’s look a bit at the roots here, and talk Big Bang.

Big Bang is actual sunbae to the last group I profiled, 2NE1. Both are under YG entertainment, and 2NE1 debuted under Big Bang’s aegis, alongside them for the “Lollipop” commercial song.

The house style is obvious both in the music (pop R&B that’s catchy but has body, too) and a style that would rather catch eyes than stay classy.

Kind of personifying this is the group leader G-Dragon*. He’s small with a loud personality, a signature kid-like voice as a rapper, and the ability to wear an exaggeration of rapper style that’s completely ridiculous. He actually makes an ideal counterpoint for TOP…

a little preppy layered with gangsta

Who actually does best when taking a classic and adding just a slight slant on it.

One of his solo pursuits has been acting, including a turn as an assassin on the extremely successful spy drama IRIS. This show (from the MV I’ve seen of his cuts, heh) plays up the slightly sinister charisma he has.

The promo posters have him looking a little weirdly sleek, but in the actual footage, the punk arrogance and chic style comes across much better…

All the agents wear black, as far as i can tell–that’s very much the aesthetic of this show–but he makes it seem a sexy fashion covenant, rather than a professionalism.

One of his recent stylings as a star (not a character) is to have silver or insanely blonde hair.

It’s something that instantly boots that classic look up to something a bit more edgy. It sometimes ventures into pastiche, but the boy works with G-Dragon. Give him a break.

What it really comes down to is that TOP is hot. But in a kind of unusual way, especially for K-Pop boys. Rather than charming, he’s a little stand-offish in image, which is only played up by the penchant for suit jackets and ice-queen hair. He has a voice with a rough edge, and of all the Big Bang members roughed up in the “Haru Haru” video sequences he’s the one who looks not damaged, just accessorized. Would he probably look decent in anything? Yeah. But his stylists do seem to get that it’s best if you keep it simple, with just a couple things to telegraph “rapper, K-pop phenom”

is that...a pink butterfly earring?

 

 

* G-Dragon is actually the one I came across first. He’s actually one of the insanely interesting to analyze dressers that I haven’t gotten to posting about yet, because where do you start?

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  1. #1 by bittersweet on August 5, 2011 - 11:56 am

    Love TOP, love this post. 😀

  2. #2 by Ideosyncreant on August 5, 2011 - 5:27 pm

    Thank you! He’s a more recent flame of mine, since I was familiar with G-Dragon’s solo work before checking out Big Bang. Kind of backward engineered to TOP and Taeyang, and then found out I liked their group, too.

    TOP is probably my favorite now…

  3. #3 by muchadoboutlove on August 7, 2011 - 12:32 pm

    tbh, I started watching IRIS because of him *guilty*
    he’s one of the hottest assassin in the world, I think 😉

    • #4 by Ideosyncreant on August 9, 2011 - 12:06 am

      Yeaaaaah.
      In the “Tell Me Goodbye” video both images he shows are compelling in that same way. I’m not interested in Iris, but he looks really good in the clips I was watching!

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