Perhaps the most intriguing geopolitical news to come out of the start of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, held in PyeongChang, South Korea, might be the fact that the two Korean states decided to unify on the global stage for the occasion.
But a bonus was the North Korean “army of beauties,” or “cheerleaders” as they’ve been dubbed — a group of 230 women attending to cheer on the North Korean delegation at this year’s Games.
North Korean leader Kim Jung Un reportedly selected the looks himself, not all that surprising considering the authoritarian ruler’s penchant for — or evolution toward — a snazzy suit and “trend-setting” haircuts.
The outfits include Zhivago-style fur pillbox hats (one might say they look more like they’d belong to another authoritarian regime north of the Korean Peninsula), ruby red car-length coats with black fur stoles, black leather gloves, and booties.
— Auntie Mame (@MamaJama) February 9, 2018
Is everything militarized in North Korea? 'Army of Beauties'? Is there a militant wing of the Boy Scouts?
— The Mind Unguent (@MindUnguent) February 8, 2018
North Korea cheerleaders, on the charm offensive…. https://t.co/eyxV8dB3Qb
— Akiko Fujita (@AkikoFujita) February 7, 2018
While the Olympics — especially the opening ceremony — are an opportunity to showcase a nation’s sartorial heritage, this seems to be a case of normalization on the world stage of a regime devoid of diplomatic ties with many Western nations.
To be sure, it’s not entirely a divergence from what fashion looks like in North Korea (minimal makeup, conservative dress, and nary a blue jean — a “Western decadence” — in sight.) But it is a bit refreshing to for once think about something other than nuclear warfare when considering North Korea.
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