Kim Jong-il's Hairdo Will Outlive Him

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s trademark bouffant hairdo and khaki jumpsuit, often the butt of cynical jokes worldwide, are part and parcel of the repressive and hypocritical ideology that has kept him in power for nearly three decades, argues an op-ed in the Korea Times. Citing a recent profile of fashion trends among world dictators that appeared late last year in Foreign Policy magazine, which opened with the illusive North Korean leader, the author writes that Kim’s Mao-era jacket, intended to convey a proletarian sensibility, is in fact made from some of the highest quality and most expensive British wool. This, the author writes, in a nation rife with famine and malnourishment.

The author goes on to write that Kim’s choreographed appearance, reminiscent of the early 20th century communist revolutionaries of his father’s generation, is intended as a rebuke of globalization and western-style liberalism. Kim’s third son and official successor, Jong-un, who analysts say most closely resembles his father in physical appearance, appears to have a similar fashion sense, a sign perhaps of his willingness, for the time being, to carry on his father’s legacy, in style as well as substance.