This coming November, Sanrio’s Hello Kitty gears up for her 35th birthday and my, does she age well. Just when you thought every collaboration possible had already been done by the anime character, prepare yourself. On the agenda for birthday celebratory collaborations are a line of lifestyle products like iPhone cases and business card holders designed by Kimora Lee Simmons, a one-of-a-kind Hello Kitty-inspired Swarovski necklace, and other collaborations with designers like Judith Leiber, Linda Farrow, and American Apparel to name a few.
We’re not sure whether to rejoice in celebration or to cringe at the fact that this mouthless feline still exists…(although on second thought, it’s probably a good thing that HK is mouthless, because we can only imagine what kinds of noises might come out of there). But since we don’t like to be mean to people (or cats) on their birthdays, we’ll lean on the celebratory side of the scale. Here’s to you, HK, and your glorious career. Read on for our favorite moments in Hello Kitty style.
2003: Hello Kitty paired up with Tarina Tarantino to create her first line of high fashion jewelry–and it wasn’t only pre-schoolers prancing around in the goods. Cameron Diaz paired her Hello Kitty Cherry Blossom Necklace with a turquoise newsboy cap for a girlier look than usual.
2006: Hello Kitty’s Japanese parent company, Sanrio, unveiled a madeover kitty. The newly blonde doll was inspired by California girl Paris Hilton, but was only available for purchase in Japan. To show her gratitude, Hilton popped up in HK-inspired looks from time to time including this “J’Adore Kitty” tee which she was spotted wearing in December of 2008 while shopping on Rodeo Drive.
2007: When Hello Kitty expanded into kitchen equipment with a cutesy white and pink toaster, we were a little confused by the appeal factor. Then we learned that the contraption burns your bread to make a Hello Kitty imprint on your morning toast. And then it all made sense.
2008: After amassing quite the impressive resumé, Hello Kitty was honored by her home country in May by being named Japanese tourism ambassador. We’re not sure what the really means, but we think it was some marketing ploy to attract people from other countries to visit Japan. We couldn’t find any info on whether that actually worked.
2008: Quite the transformative year for HK, or perhaps a midlife crisis. Can we approximate the midlife point of a cartoon character? Sanrio decided to turn the normally cutesy kitty into a punk, launching new accessories and toys featuring HK in goth-inspired prints. We’re talking skulls, crossbones, and a ton of black. Maybe it was an attempt to reach a different clientele, although we’re not sure Marilyn Manson is a cat person. Or a pet person at all.
2008: Apparently being BFF with Paris Hilton wasn’t enough for the anime character; she had to go and start a rock band too. We’re a little disappointed that the music video for the hit song “Hello World” doesn’t actually show HK singing, but we guess that just adds to her mystery.
2009: This past February, Hello Kitty collaborated with M.A.C. on a full collection of cosmetics including compacts, brushes, lipsticks and eyeliners…and a black Hello Kitty doll that pops up in the middle of the make-up bag–obviously the real reason why we bought it.
2009: Blair Waldorf may get all the glory for bringing back the head bow craze, but we know who the real originator is. Hello Kitty’s been rocking the red bow since 1974, so we think its only fair to give credit where it’s due. Erin Fetherston even brought the cute hair accessory back for her Fall 2009 runway collection.
If you’re digging HK’s fashion sense, be sure to check out the extravaganza of products that will hit stores in November to comemmorate her birthday. And for the more gung-ho fans, don’t miss Hello Kitty’s retrospective art exhibit to showcase from October 23 through November 15 at the Royal/T gallery in Culver City California.