Los Angeles, home to the high-end chic playground known as Beverly Hills, has just been deemed the MOST polluted city in the U.S.

According to the Lung Association's 2009 State of the Air Report Los Angeles failed three major air quality tests -- Ozone, short-term particulates and long-term particulates.

This new bit of information somehow made the recent showing of Diddo Velema's haute couture gas masks all the more poetic. 

Bejeweled with Swaovski crystal and wrapped in Gucci-crested leather, isn't that exactly what Paris Hilton would wear on a jaunt down Rodeo Drive during a Code Red smog alert?

The terrorist references are deserved. According to a recent accounting by NRDC, over 60,000 people die each year in the U.S. from exposure to particulates. That's 30 times the number that died in the World Trade Center ... each year!

And despite some recent improvement in auto emission standards, U.S. air quality appears to grow worse. 3 in 5 Americans now inhale air that is deemed by the Lung Association to be hazardous to your health.

So though Velema's work is a flight of fancy, it still begs a very serious question: In a world where millions suffer from pollution, can true wealth really exist?

Leave your answers in the comments!

Via: If It's Hip It's Here

I also cover this in my GreenDig video blog. Don't do RSS? Follow all Karl Burkart posts and tweets @greendig or on Facebook.





Gasping for air... in style!
Haute Couture gas masks beg the question: Can you ever be truly wealthy in a polluted world?