As someone who has spent a sick amount of time scavenging for Hello Kitty merchandise across America and Japan - particularly the kind that subverts or updates the classic red, white and childlike design scheme - I was extremely delighted to receive an invite to MAC Cosmetics' launch party for their new HK line. "When innocence meets the temptations of the dark side, what's a gal like Kitty to do?" read the card, which pretty much meant that not even a snowstorm would stop me from going.
For two hours this evening at the Soho MAC store, the Hello Kitty colour collection was available for perusal and purchase a week before its debut in stores on February 12th. The turnout was ridiculous, with gaggles of squealing girls (and a boy or two), enjoying the pink cocktails, bow-shaped pink and black cookies, and free balloons. While I've seen far more radical and dark takes on Sanrio's darling girl (an image of HK with a bandaged eye dripping blood etched onto a shard of imitation glass comes to mind), MAC's mod packaging with black as the core color offset by raspberry, white and gray accents is still pretty cute.
On a side note, Hello Kitty's brand of mute feminism (she has no mouth) was quite intriguing as embodied by two muscled and waxed dancing boys wearing HK heads, patent leather pants, and army boots. Whose gaze were they courting with that? Any of you post-structuralist gender theorists wanna have a go?