cl dishes on hello bitches and her new badass style

As her latest English-language video drops, we talk to the Korean superstar about her evolving look and what to expect when her album hits.

21 November 2015, 12:45pm

CL's latest video, Hello Bitches, has launched over at Noisey and we are so excited! The sizzling, slightly raunchy track with a Korean hook is the first single from her hyper-buzzy English language EP, Lifted, which drops next year. For the uninitiated: CL (née Lee Chae-Rin) is the 24-year-old former frontwoman of 2NE1, who collaborator Diplo called the Nicki Minaj of K-Pop in Time. He's just one of her many fans at the moment; she's also charmed the fashion world -- posing with bestie Jeremy Scott on the cover of Paper magazine, performing at an Alexander Wang party, and giving Karl Lagerfeld a peck on the cheek at a Chanel event while wearing thigh-high boots.

Hello Bitches is exciting because it's a first taste of what the new album will bring, both musically and stylistically. Musically we're talking powerful, sassy rap, straight up, with a twist of Missy Elliott. Style-wise, we see CL and her girl squad rocking one fierce ensemble: embroidered black leather motorcycle jackets, hot pants, and fishnets. It's the Pink Ladies meet Foxy Brown. CL's hair is loose and pale lavender, while the ReQuest girls rock fluorescent braided 'dos that owe more to Harlem than to Seoul. Styled by CL herself alongside 2NE1 collaborator XIN, it's tougher and more directional than previous outings; think of it as a Rhythm Nation or Single Ladies moment, the fashion stripped down to a powerful, sexy uniform. When you look back at the 2013 video for Baddest Female, the singer was schizophrenically (and appealingly) experimenting with different styles, from a polished white evening gown, to an ultra-street crop top/baggy pant combo, all remixed with K-Pop-inflected babydoll makeup. In the video for this year's Diplo X CL X Riff Raff X OG Maco banger Doctor Pepper, she was already hinting at a tougher vibe, with a verse that's straight flames and a rare holographic Supreme T. We asked CL to talk style and power as she reveals her new track.

How would you describe your look in this video?
I wanted us look like a squad of girls. We added patches and a tiger on the back of our outfits as it represents the national animal of South Korea.

The hair and makeup looks are so fierce -- where did the inspiration come from?
We worked with my hairstylist and her friend and since we were wearing all black, we wanted the makeup and hair to stand out.

Who are the girls in your fabulous squad?
It's Parris Goebel and her girls in the ReQuest Dance Crew from New Zealand. I've worked with her before for 2NE1 three or four years ago. This is this first time going into the studio together with her and it was a lot of fun.

How is your look (in this video and in general) linked to your power as a woman?
For the video, we wanted to be comfortable dancing while being cohesive. We all had bomber jackets and patches. We wore what we like because we are strong and powerful girls.

What can fans expect to see in terms of your look as this album gears up?
I've always been colourful and taken risks. I like to play different characters. I want to continue to do more than one style as to keep it interesting and fun.

How have your relationships with designers like Jeremy Scott and Alexander Wang influenced your style?
Fashion and music are connected since both are expressions. I love to perform and express myself to inspire people. That's why fashion is a huge inspiration to me.

What role does fashion play in your music videos?
Fashion helps express the message of the song and music video.

Which other female musicians do you look to for style inspiration?
Lately, I really like the early 2000's Lil' Kim look.


Text Rory Satran
Photography courtesy CL/Scooter Braun management
Styling CL and XIN
CL wears Alessandro Francalanci, shoes Chromat, accessories Lynn Ban