The Fashion Behind “Lady”

The Fashion Behind “Lady”

On June 5, former Wonder Girls member Yubin made her solo debut with the release of “Lady,” a groovy track inspired by ‘80s disco and rock music. The lyrics of the song, as well as Yubin’s styling in the video, combine to create the image of a busy, cosmopolitan woman searching for love while living her own life to the fullest. Yubin’s solo debut perfectly echoes the retro vibes the Wonder Girls were famous for, yet also takes a solid step in a bold new direction.

 all photos: JYP Entertainment

all photos: JYP Entertainment

In the video, Yubin is seen in a variety of retro outfits in various settings, such as the balcony of an apartment, a car cruising down the highway, and the inside of a subway car. This lends the video a uniquely vibrant big city image, one that matches the upbeat song by emphasizing the main character’s sense of independence and freedom. Additionally, the cinematography of the video echoes the imagery often seen in films of the Hong Kong new wave of the ‘80s and ‘90s, which “combined glamorous visuals” with “modern urban settings” (FilmReference.com). In particular, the video seems to draw influence from films directed by Wong Kar Wai—namely, Chungking Express or In The Mood For Love, two of his most famous works known for their exploration of identity and relationships in a bustling, ever-changing city.

 photo: Chungking Express, 1996, dir. Wong Kar Wai

photo: Chungking Express, 1996, dir. Wong Kar Wai

In addition to carrying influence from Hong Kong cinema, Yubin’s outfits appear to mirror Japanese fashion trends from the ‘80s—specifically, styling and imagery associated with Japanese city pop. According to Mori Ra of Electronic Beats, city pop was especially appealing to those who “benefited from the so-called post-war ‘economic miracle,’ an economic boom that took place in Japan between the end of World War II and the Cold War (ElectronicBeats.net).” Since then, city pop has gained popularity for its hopeful, often dreamlike sound.

 
 “Yokohama Trad Style,” Hama Toro (1980) .      Credit: Tokyo Street Fashion and Culture: 1980-2017

“Yokohama Trad Style,” Hama Toro (1980) .      Credit: Tokyo Street Fashion and Culture: 1980-2017

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 “One-length cut and body-conscious one piece” (1987) (Credit: Tokyo Street Fashion and Culture: 1980-2017)

“One-length cut and body-conscious one piece” (1987) (Credit: Tokyo Street Fashion and Culture: 1980-2017)

For example, in one outfit, Yubin is seen wearing a structured blouse, a high-waisted black skirt with sequins, black gloves, and a thick black belt over the blouse, which defines her waistline and ties the look together. This look closely mirrors the oft-seen belted silhouette of the ‘80s, when more form-fitting styles were gaining popularity.

However, Yubin’s outfits also incorporate extra glitz and glamour with sequins, short skirts, fishnet tights, and bold accessories. This adds a touch of elegance and celebrity to her overall image—in some scenes, she seems like a polished working woman, and in others, she appears more like a film star or singer ready to perform. These images not only illustrate the versatility of the retro concept, but the many dimensions Yubin has as an artist as well. While these outfits employ similar silhouettes to the previous ones, they incorporate brighter colors and more noticeable accessories, adding even more vibrance to the outfit.

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Some of these accessories include larger earrings, long gloves with rings or lace accents, and even larger hair accessories. Many of her outfits also feature either stiletto heels or short go-go boots with a chunky heel. Finally, Yubin wears her hair curled and teased, adding volume and movement reminiscent of many popular ‘80s hairstyles.

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Together, the outfits Yubin wears create an image that’s confident and sophisticated, yet fun and dynamic at the same time. Although many of these pieces may be hard to come by nowadays, take a look in your local vintage store or thrift shop—you never know what you might find!

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