Hello Kitty For Grownups

Sanrio was a huge part of my childhood. At least once a week after school, I would visit Gift Gate, a chain of stores in the Philippines that carries Sanrio products. I would spend hours there, just browsing through hordes of Hello Kitty, Kero Keroppi, and Little Twin Stars items. I would purchase my regular issue of A La Mode Magazine (does anybody remember this magazine?), which featured global Sanrio news, fan pages, and the latest products that I would drool over.

I even joined the Sanrio Pen Pals Club in the early ’90s, where I’d write letters (snail mail was the best mode of long distance communication back then) to other Sanrio fans all over the globe. My favorite pen pals were fellow tween girls from the US, and we would send each other stickers and stationeries along with our photos and letters.

The Sanrio craze in Manila fizzled in the late ’90s, when Looney Tunes and all things Taz took over. But I remained a Hello Kitty girl at heart.

These days, I would still find myself purchasing random Hello Kitty items from my travels all over the globe. And no, I do not fall for the fake ones from bazaars and street markets. As a Hello Kitty fan, I can easily spot a fake.

My latest wanderlust discovery is KI*LA*RA. I stumbled upon this store during my holiday trip to Macau last weekend. This Hello Kitty brand sells an eye-catching—albeit pricey—collection of clothes, bags, and accessories for the teen and adult market. While I still prefer the ’80s Hello Kitty color scheme of red and yellow, KI*LA*RA’s modern gold and pink designs were a tempting splurge.

The clothes on the rack were mostly jackets and sweaters, as Macau is still in autumn-winter mode. It’s too bad there weren’t any summer dresses and light tops yet; these fleece jackets have no place in Manila’s tropical weather. Nevertheless, the omnipresent sight of that beribboned kitty was enough to feed my appetite for all things cute and quirky.

My next Hello Kitty goal: Visit Japan and go wild in their Sanrio stores.

Find KI*LA*RA stores here:
Sogo, 12 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

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3/F The Grand Canal Shoppes, The Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel
Estrada da Baía de N. Senhora da Esperança, s/n,
Taipa, Macao SAR, China

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P.S. Want a free Hello Kitty 2012 calendar? Sign up now for Hello Kitty’s Sweet Happy News and you’ll be able to download a free 2012 Sanrio calendar! Yay! Click here to sign up: http://bit.ly/zTyNBb. Happy New Year!