Jetsun Pema is the newly crowned queen of Bhutan and has become the fashion pinpoint of a culture that is changing more rapidly than any other on the planet. Bhutan, a Buddhist kingdom of 700,000, is one of the last to adapt to global technological trends in order to preserve its ancient culture. The number of tourists allowed in the country is limited, and TV was only just accepted 12 years ago. Nowadays, Bhutan has a version of “American Idol” (generation of teenagers on Facebook) and its very own fashion superstar.
Like princess Kate Middleton, Queen Jetsun was just a commoner who skillfully updated monarchal traditions without overstepping her bounds. She wore a traditional Kira in her wedding to 31 year old King Jigme, but certain flourishes caught the attention of Western fashionistas.
A fashion reported for The Guardian wrote: “The bridal kira featured sleeves in a contrasting shade of fuchsia pink, echoing the trend for ‘contrast sleeves’ currently seen at Burberry and Yves Saint Laurent, and was teamed with shoes with striped block heels similar to those currently on sale in Fendi. She finished her look with a pair of statement earrings (very Miuccia Prada).”
Jetsun is not an Armani worshipper, nor does she crave McQueen like Middleton; her style is simply home-grown, with a colorful twist.
While the couple are loved by their people, Bhutanese traditionalists are concerned that this modernization will destroy their closely guarded culture. Already Jigme and Jetsun chose to have a monogamous marriage and broke a major rule of the Bhutanese monarchy (marrying multiple siblings).
Sema exemplifies the evolving culture in her kingdom, as pictures of Bhutan streets include traditionally-dressed women along with residents wearing Ralph Lauren tweed jackets and Ugg boots.
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