Jiyong Kwon, better known by his moniker G-Dragon, does not fear the unknown. The singer-songwriter, fashion designer and entrepreneur— who rose to fame in 2006 as part of South Korean boy band BigBang—dives into new things and presents his findings in any form that he desires. To date, the world has had the pleasure of watching him beautifully transcend the boundaries of sex, race and societal norms. Apart from his musical prowess, the star is also making his presence felt in the fashion world with his streetwear line Peaceminusone. Here, G-Dragon delves into the Chanel cruise 2023 collection, his ambassadorship for the maison and his love for fashion.
What has been your impression of Monte Carlo so far?
This was my first visit to Monaco. Throughout my visit, I found it to be beautiful and pristine. The hotel we stayed at was on the top of a hill, and I could lie in bed and watch the clouds drift by outside the window. It was like being up in the clouds. The city has an overarching brilliance and warmth, a kind of dreaminess.
Chanel’s cruise 2023 collection was an ode to beach-inspired sportswear. How did you interpret this? And what’s it like being a brand ambassador for Chanel?
True to the sporty beach resort theme, Chanel’s cruise 2023 collection impressed me with its carefree feel, which was tastefully executed. This was my first time seeing the Chanel collection in a new place. The outdoor beachfront catwalk and stage setting were amazing. It was organised not so much as a show but as a presentation that encouraged the casual urban gaze. It was like seeing amazing models in a natural setting with outfits, accessories and props. The weather in Monaco has a particular vibe, and the collection captured it in a very subtle way. This might sound like a broken record, but Chanel captures style so well. From the beginning, in fact, Chanel has represented freedom for me. Of course, Chanel has its own identity, but ever since I was young, I would match my outfit, whether it was pyjamas or a button-down suit, with pieces from the maison. My appreciation for Chanel also led me to study fashion. Fashion can be its own language for describing a person, and as Chanel’s brand ambassador, there’s a lot to learn from and be inspired by.
Where are you now? Could you describe the space and the ambience?
I’m on a sofa (laughs). The weather is warm and pleasantly temperate. The ambience is mellow, maybe because I’m reminiscing about the Chanel collection.
What does your studio mean to you and how would you describe it?
In terms of living spaces, different spaces around the house serve different purposes. My studio is my play den or recreation room, where I can fully focus on something, untethered and unrestricted, where I can explore my thoughts and feelings to my heart’s content. It’s a space that perfectly suits me.
When I picture a musician’s studio, I imagine a space where something completely new is mystically brought into existence. Haruki Murakami once said: “Being a novelist is an extremely individual and physical activity”. The physical side of creative work can’t be overlooked. How do you stay fit and healthy?
I have a daily routine which I established recently. Health and wellness are foundational for any activity, so I have been exercising regularly as well. In my daily routine, there’s a set time for eating, going out for a run and so on.
Is there any new music that you find interesting and fresh?
I get to listen to and admire the creations of artists around the world. That’s such a great privilege and a pleasure. I deeply appreciate what I’ve encountered, so I can’t narrow it down to what’s fresh and interesting. They’re all good. From new ways that language is being used to popular memes online, I find them all fascinating.
What books, movies or artworks have you indulged in recently?
I’ve been reading a lot lately. And I’ve been watching at least two movies a day. I enjoy reading and taking in new inspiration. Honestly, I’m just as curious about my own interests as everyone else (laughs). Over time, I’ve found my curiosity broadening and my thoughts on.
As an individual and as a musician, what has been your driving force?
It changes from moment to moment. But as an individual, Jiyong Kwon is driven by dreams and values. As an artist, G-Dragon is empowered and nourished by the fans. I got to where I am through music and I’ll continue making music because of all the people who’ve repaid my efforts with love. There are set standards, core values and people I care deeply about. I’ve tried to honour these things in my daily life and doing so has helped me pay closer attention to details and find the strength to improve.
You’ve mentioned that you keep up with what’s popular and with what people are into. Can you walk us through your thought process?
I’m a pop musician, so I have to pay close attention to pop trends. That said, I want to clarify that I’m less concerned with trends than with what fans are into—I like having conversations with them. In this way, I can stay motivated and absorb influences. I’m genuinely curious about what’s happening here and now. I have a deeply ingrained ability to read trends.
Peaceminusone and collaborations with fashion brands seem to be a big part of who you are. It appears you like to take on challenges related to things you cherish and to share these pursuits with others.
If we’ve worked together before, chances are we’ll be crossing paths again. I prefer it that way, but it’s also because the people I work with are amazing. They’re people I have a lot of love for and were colleagues in this walk of life. Trust is the most important thing when people are together. It’s about doing the work, putting in the effort, taking responsibility, being supportive of one another and spreading the love. There’s more to it than just work because we’re sharing something inside our hearts: it connects us and it makes us value one another. I hope to keep it that way and I hope this makes more good people want to work with me (laughs).
Some time ago, you described flowers as both beautiful and dolorous. Four years ago, Big Bang released the single Flower Road and this year, the group gave us the single Spring Summer Fall Winter. Flowers are a recurring theme in the lyrics as well as the album art, evoking all sorts of emotions. What aspects of flowers do you identify with and what attracts you to them?
My appreciation for flowers remains unchanged. I find flowers to be both beautiful and heartbreaking. A flower can convey different emotions. Sometimes my feelings are projected onto a flower. As a youngster, I liked flowers. Sometimes they inspired me, sometimes they calmed me. Gazing at flowers can stir up lots of different thoughts and sometimes they help me empty my mind and achieve a beautiful state of Zen. Whether I’m focusing or just chilling, flowers always seem to have just the right sort of warmth and fragrance.
Please tell us what your core value is as of this moment.
Not watering down the values I had in the past. And creating new values from what I have now. I’ve been spending more time thinking about values that are embraced with lasting innocence. There are also those values that you establish throughout your lifetime, those that you wouldn’t trade for anything. All of them are equally important.
Photography Heejune Kim
Fashion editor Kihoh Sohn
Styling Gee Eun
Make-up Hyekyung Lim
Production Woori Bae