North Korean first lady Ri Sol-ju is making waves even among fashion experts here. They are praising her use of accessories to cover a slightly plump figure and applauding her classic, feminine style. But they also note that her fashion sense is a little out of style by South Korean standards.
Kan Ho-sup, who teaches fashion design at Hongik University, said, "The base color is black with green, yellow or beige highlights. It's classic and elegant and a bit reminiscent of Princess Diana in her youth."
Ri wears flower-shaped brooches, clothes with ruffles, ribbons and beads, and slightly see-through lace jacket. But overall, she seems to try not to be over-dressed.
She also seems to favor luxury brands. She wore a W4.8 million (US$1=W1,135) Tiffany necklace when she visited the statues of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il on Aug. 29. She often carries a Christian Dior clutch bag worth W1.8 million. Stylist Seo Jung-eun said, "Ri sometimes shows off with a flamboyant hair band, but it seems she tries not to give the impression that she is not a luxury addict.
Han Sun-hee, an executive with fashion consultancy Creative Factory, said, "I see a clash between her desire to be a responsible and well-behaved first lady and her desire to be a bolder fashion icon." Han cited her sleeveless tops and peep-toe shoes as the examples of the latter. "It seems she wants to be formal yet trendy, like a woman who just started working after graduation rather than a first lady."