North Korea's first lady sports designer bag � that costs a year's salary

Aug 09, 2012, 07:39 IST | Agencies

North Korea's young first lady has been pictured sporting an expensive Christian Dior handbag in stark contrast to the widespread shortages elsewhere in the impoverished nation.

Ri Sol-Ju, the wife of leader Kim Jong-Un, was pictured accompanying him on a “field guidance trip” to an army unit. Ri is wearing a white dress with black top and next to her is a small handbag, with the luxury brand’s ‘D’ metal tag. The clutch bag is a popular accessory of the fashion house’s luxury range and is made from “richly quilted lambskin, finished with the signature Dior charm logo in silvertone”.

Living the high life: Ri Sol-Ju, wife of North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un, has been pictured sporting what appears to be a (inset) Christian Dior handbag. Pic/AFP

The bag is on sale in Seoul, South Korea’s capital for 1.8 million won, a cost that is equivalent to the average annual income in North Korea. Photographs, carried by state television and the official news agency, show the couple applauding while seated together watching outdoor art performances by soldiers.

The attractive and stylish young woman contrasts sharply with her husband, clad in his customary Mao-style dark suit, and with the army officers in olive drab uniforms and oversized peaked caps.

The secretive Communist state, in an unusual move, confirmed last month Ri is Kim’s wife. Recent photos had shown the pair at public events together, sparking speculation about her identity.

Kim, believed to be in his late 20s, took over as leader after his father and long-time ruler Kim Jong-Il died last December. Disclosure of his marriage is seen as part of efforts to stress his maturity in a culture which puts high priority on family life.

The country of 24 million has suffered severe food shortages since a famine in the mid-1990s killed hundreds of thousands. UN agencies estimated last autumn that three million people would need food aid this year.

Fashion Forward
Ri Sol-Ju, North Korea’s First Lady, a former singer is a contrast to her husband in her shift dresses. Her chic sense of dressing has been compared to that of Kate Middleton or Carla Bruni. 

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