Kim Jong Il, the North Korean dictator who died Saturday, was many things to his country: Dear Leader. Doting father. Crackpot autocrat. But only a year ago, his government’s propaganda machine — which he controlled — declared Kim to be a global fashion icon, further proving just how out of touch with reality the isolated country has become.
To bolster his style cred, the state newspaper quoted an anonymous French style expert as saying, “The ‘Kim Jong-Il style fad’ is rapidly spreading out to the world!”
North Koreans have been fed a lot of nonsense about Kim. For instance, legend has it Kim’s birth was heralded by a pair of rainbows and a new star. But look at his bouffant hair, zip-up uniform and 3-D goggles: Really, North Korea? The idea that Kim’s arrival caused an astrological shift seems less ridiculous than praising his “humble jacket” as a must-have.
Still, North Korea’s statement on fashion reveals much about Kim. Like Moammar Gadhafi, the brute seemed preoccupied with making an international best-dressed list. Lack of sartorial respect seems to annoy some tyrants. Fortunately, we’ll never be able to ask this one why.