“Last winter, I listened to Big Bang’s ‘Monster’ the whole time I was shooting with Mario Testino for VOGUE UK. He said that he’s a fan of Big Bang so I gave him Big Bang’s album as a gift”
10AM. After her show in Paris, Kim Sung Hee came straight to the studio from the airport. All for the photo shoot with G-Dragon. Soo Joo was also on the same plane as her. Park Ji Hye is probably flying to somewhere right now. These three beautiful troika models that took over the runways all around the world, were having some wine together in Paris and were talking about their excitement for the photo shoot. “We promised each other that we’ll all greet GD dancing to Fantastic Baby. We probably cannot actually do it because we’re too shy.”
This story all starts from 2 months ago. When the Vogue editors decided to make “Seoul” the theme for the 17th anniversary issue, the first person that came into our mind was G-Dragon. Big Bang who came on stage yelling “LIES” in 2008, was a totally new group. What represents Big Bang is not perfect choreography or uniforms, but their own style of music and their care-free attitude. In the middle of that, there’s G-Dragon, who takes care of producing their songs. Just like the lyrics of his song ‘One of a Kind’, what he does becomes the new trend and everyone go crazy for it. G-Dragon is a cultural icon that represents the first half of the 21st century. And instead of being some secret, mysterious cultural icon, he is a friendly star that is active on social networks. He’s also a musician that can be a part of fashion like the Beatles or David Bowie.
“Hello!” G-Dragon walked in wearing red sunglasses, holding a red Hermes Birkin bag as big as his body. This musician who said he’ll still wear red until he becomes an old granpa, first thing he did was to change the music by plugging his iPhone into the studio speaker. In the boring, silent room, electronic sound and Kanye West’s fast rap started flowing. “I like moving my body to the song that I like when I’m shooting. So everywhere I go, I always turn on the music.” The shooting that is scheduled to be 1 night and 2 days had hundreds and hundreds of outfits, including sparkling Saint Laurent jackets that came all the way from France. This is the new collection that nobody in Korea has worn before. Saint Laurent Paris sends it to the fashionistas as a special treatment. GD, who received big attention from many fashion houses with his Saint Laurent outfits, also dressed himself up in the Thom Browne runway for his MichiGO music video. To GD, fashion is a gift box that holds music. “You can tell that I walk differently when I wear a hip hop style outfit and when I wear a dandy suit. You can see the same in my music too, right? It’s the same when I go up on the stage, or when I make music. That’s why I dress up all the time. You never know what my songs would sound like if I only wore sweats every day.”
The shooting officially started as the last track of Kanye West’s album played. GD, who was holding a violin and an accordion, became a street musician. Model Sung Hee became a dancer that travels with him. Although the two did not talk other than an awkward hello, when the shooting started, they became a cute, lovely couple. Sung Hee, who was a ballerina when she was young, showed her flexible moves and the photographer Kim Bo Sung and GD were amazed. The two who are knowledgeable about how to use their body, worked in a perfect harmony like dancers who have practiced together for a long time. GD said “I read some magazines and I looked up some poses for this photo shoot. Because this is such a big project with VOGUE and this was my first time doing this kind of styling, I did not even eat for the shoot. I thought a skinny body would look better for this photo shoot, but I’m not so skinny at the moment. I don’t really go on a diet or anything but I ate too much when my concert ended so I worked out to lose some weight.”
GD’s 2nd album is in preparation. Since the day he got back to Korea, he’s been working nonstop in his studio for his new album. He said he did not get to rest at all, not even a day.
“I’ve been constantly looking for something new, but I just don’t know what it is that I’m missing. If I knew, I would be right on it, but I just don’t know what it is.”
“I think the fact that I’m collaborating with a foreign artist is very new and fresh. I liked Missy Elliot since I was a kid and I always thought, how great would it be if I collaborated with her, and somehow there was a chance for me.” He said that his album is about 70% done. He said that he included Hip Hop, R&B, rock and ballad so there isn’t any particular concept. “I put all the songs that I’ve liked for the past 1-2 years because nowadays nobody listens to all the songs in an album. They just pick out the songs that they like in a playlist and listen to that.”
This album will be released on 8/18. It is the same day as GD’s birthday (1988/08/18). His first solo album came out on this day as well. This number 8 is a very special number to GD. If you lay the number sideways, it becomes the infinity sign and it’s a lucky number to GD. Also GD became the youngest male cover model for VOGUE for our August issue.
“It is such an honor. Asian power is growing every day in this world and I’m so glad that I could be a part of that growth with these three global models. And I hope that I could be a help to this Asian Power.”
As time passed, the shooting scene felt more like a club late at night. Because of GD’s playlist that shook up your heart. West Coast Hip Hop’s symbol Kendrick Lamar, old school artist Whodini, Chris Brown’s featuring and kid rapper Scooter Smiff… Beyonce, Pharell Williams, etc. Also we cannot forget about Jay Z’s new album where all the millionaires united. “I get so irritated when I hear a good song. It’s something that stimulates me the most. I love all of Jay Z’s songs, and I’m envious of Kanye because he can try many new stuff, and same with J.Cole… Taeyang is also preparing for a new album now, and I was really jealous of one of the songs. When I hear a song that good, I have to relieve it (the irritation). GD was dancing to the music and hit one of the boxes on the photo set like it’s an African drum. He did not care at all even if there were staff members watching. When we all felt like we’ve heard enough songs for a month, the shooting was stopped temporarily. GD had to leave for a while to go to a brand launching party.
Later that night, when he came back, his 2nd partner Soo Joo was waiting for him. Soo Joo already met Taeyang who came to Paris. This was her first time meeting GD. Photographer Hong Jang Hyun wanted them to be friendly and have more dramatic shots in this awkward moment. He wanted to pull GD’s pure charms to the photo shoot. GD did not really mind wearing short pants or being half naked because of his previous experiences with VOGUE where he had to wear high heels. But out of all, he trusted the photographer. And then something amazing happened.
Soo Joo and GD who had long blond hair with smoky eyes almost looked identical, like twins. 2NE1’s stylist, Yang Seung Ho, who stopped by to look at the shooting, looked into the picture for some time and said, “I cannot tell which one’s GD and which one’s Soo Joo.” The two looked so natural, like real couples. But GD couldn’t hide his real feelings. “I was just looking straight up, straight up! Hehe.” When the shooting ended, GD spoke about that awkward moment. “I’m a guy so I’m fine with showing some skin. But it was kinda hard because I’ve never done something like this with a female model with skin exposure. Even on stage, I never tried anything like this before. But it was fun.”
As soon as the shooting ended, Soo Joo turned into a shy lady. Soo Joo who showed unapproachable charisma during the shooting, was just another fangirl after all. When she was taking a picture with GD, she did the typical V pose!
The next day, the shoot started at night. GD in red skinny jeans was saying that he needs more space for his clothes in his new house. And as he was saying that, he was adding more items in his online shopping cart. Top item on his wish list was next season’s White Saint Laurent shoes. “I used to wear high-tops or Louboutin shoes but now I don’t really get hyped over expensive shoes. I’d rather buy some old Nikes that I used to wear in middle school. GD has as many tattoos as his clothes and shoes. He who got a Keith Harring tattoo 2 years ago recently added a Basquiat tattoo to his collection. “I like pop art. It’s the most public and commercial kind of art. And I’m also a pop artist in music. I recently bought some art works of Patrick Rubinstein.”
His last shoot started with some piano playing by Billy Preston. Tonight, GD will be a gentleman at a club in the 50s. The lady who will accompany him is Park Ji Hye. The only model brave enough to greet GD dancing to Fantastic Baby. Park Ji Hye sincerely praised GD, “GD is so good. It’s not exactly what we models do, but he has his own unique style.”
GD who achieved what he’s been working up to since he was a 13-year old trainee in YG, what does he think about himself?
“I guess I achieved my vague dreams. But what really matters is what kind of singer you are. I don’t want to distinguish good or bad based on that artist’s morality. I think you’re a good artist if you can make music that won’t make you feel ashamed when you listen to it in the future, if you can give inspiration to junior artists and if you can perform on the stage until your last moment… That’s something that I always think about and I always try to work on. What matters at the end is not your age, but it’s the young spirit that you have. Trying to easily fit in to this world, you’ll lose your colors and that’s the same for music too.”
When GD’s last shoot ended, all the staff that worked with him for over 24 hours gave GD a big round of applause. GD was not tired at all. 3AM. As he walked out the studio he said, “If you keep walking in the path that you think is the right way, your own unique charm will shine inside you one day, right?”
(See photos from the full pictorial here.)
Translated by @/BIGBANGGisVIP
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