Capitalist styles in fashion in N. Korea: online paper

Cosmetic surgery, skinny jeans and hoop earrings are in fashion in North Korea as the pursuit of female beauty remains unbound by the communist state's chronic food shortages, an online newspaper reported.

Daily NK, a North Korea-specific Internet newspaper, quoted sources in the North saying that although facelifts are illegal state surgeons are performing cosmetic surgeries in secret in return for bribes.

Doctors receive 2,000-3,000 North Korean won (officially 14-21 US dollars) for an upper eyelid surgery which can remove excess fatty deposits that appear as puffiness, it said.

"Upper eyelid suggeries and cosmetic tattoos on eyebrows, lips and the corners of eyes are widespread in North Korea," a source from Pyongyang was quoted as saying.

"Many women want plastic surgeries regardless of deprivation and food shortages," the source added.

One kilo of rice costs 2,000 won in the North, according to Daily NK, although the reported exchange rate for the Northern Won is said to be widely different from the actual rate used in Pyongyang.

The North used to ban women from wearing jeans or mini skirts, having flashy hairdos and other forms of "capitalist decadence."

Its drab socialist concept of female beauty is traditionally limited to toneless makeup, ear-length haircuts and ankle hemlines.

But restrictions eased, reportedly on orders from Kim Jong-Un, the youngest son of leader Kim Jong-Il and heir apparent, the online newspaper said.

Some upper-class women in Pyongyang are now daringly walking in skinny jeans in the street, it said.