Western media wagged its finger last week when photos surfaced of Ri Sol Ju, the young bride of North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, carrying a Christian Dior clutch.
The outrage was understandable: When Jimmy Carter visited the tightly controlled state last year, he reported that the food rations had shrunk from 1400 calories a day to 700, and that was before recent floods threatened the meager food supply.
Meanwhile, if there’s so much as a recession on in America, it’s J.Crew only for Mobama. Anything finer might as well be embroidered with a scarlet “e” for elitism.
But that’s the thing about dictators; they don’t have to worry about how voters will perceive their wives’ taste for accessories worth more than their annual salaries because they never have to face an election. Not one they can’t rig, anyway.
Combine the privilege not to give a damn with a national treasury-sized shopping budget, and you’ve got a tradition of despotic housewives, the world’s most morbidly fascinating fashion plates.
Meet more current and former first ladies who share Ri Sol Ju’s affinity for luxury.BEGIN SLIDESHOW