Archive for the ‘makeup’ Category

Hello Kitty, Hello Beauty!

April 27th, 2011

Getty Images courtesy of Sanrio
Amber Staab, second from left, and Kammee Stewart, are photographed with Hello Kitty and the Hello Kitty girls Julie Doll, left, and Sandy Bear dressed in sweet Lolita style at Sephora’s “Hello Beauty” event April 21.

I missed Yuko Yamaguchi’s appearance at Sephora Ala Moana April 21, but fans didn’t miss the opportunity to meet the woman who resuscitated Hello Kitty in the mid-1980s, and led the mouthless cat to superstardom.

Yuko’s story is amazing and I was glad for the opportunity to have interviewed her the day before the event. I had no idea Hello Kitty had been the unpopular black sheep of the Sanrio family, until Yuko remade her personality in her image. It’s no wonder Sanrio CEO Kunihiko Tsuji was also there to celebrate the occasion, the launch of yet another fashionable Hello Kitty line, Hello Kitty Beauty.

Fans brought in items to sign, including Sanrio’s Hello Japan totes, sales of which benefit the American Red Cross in disaster relief in response to the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

The totes retail for $10 at Sanrio boutiques, with $6.50 from sales of each tote going to the American Red Cross. There are also Hello Japan T-shirts, created in collaboration with Mighty Fine, available for about $20, with $15 from each sale to be donated.

In addition, Hello Japan chocolate bars are on the way in May, courtesy of Dylan’s Candy Bar. The premium milk and dark Belgium chocolate bars will retail for approximately $4 at Sanrio boutiques and, with $3 going toward relief efforts.

Hello Kitty designer Yuko Yamaguchi shows some of the Hello Kitty Beauty products available in the Sanrio-Sephora collaboration.

Sanrio CEO Kunihiko Tsuji attended the event, evoking the spirit of the usually pink- and bow-clad kitty.

Yamaguchi, with Japanese translator Aya Seto, hands over an autographed Hello Japan tote to Kammee Stewart, created inlimited quantity to benefit Japan relief efforts. $6.50 from each $10 tote sold will be donated to the American Red Cross.

Among fans who showed up for Yuko-san’s autograph were, from left, Elizabeth, Bethany and Angela Plymale.

Hello Kitty designer Yuko Yamaguchi tells all about kitty’s past

April 21st, 2011

Nadine Kam photo

Hello Kitty designer, director and general manager Yuko Yamaguchi is in town to meet with fans of the iconic kitty at Sephora Ala Moana, where the Hello Kitty Beauty collection is being launched from 6 to 8 p.m. today, April 21.

It’s no wonder so many people love Hello Kitty. Hers is the classic underdog story — the high school loser turned It Girl, the ugly duckling blossoming into beautiful swan according to designer Yuko Yamaguchi, who rescued the mouthless kitty from what might have been a sad fate.

Hello Kitty was initially introduced in 1974 by another Yuko, Yuko Shimizu, but by the time Yamaguchi joined the Sanrio company as a young newcomer, Kitty was an underperforming black sheep of the Sanrio family.

As the lowest designer on the totem pole in the early 1980s, she was the third designer assigned to work on Hello Kitty, and disappointed in the prospect.

Although Yuko certainly looks the part of the Hello Kitty fan in her sweet Lolita dress, she said she’s had the same style since she was in high school, and over the years, has come to feel that “I feel like Hello Kitty has come to resemble me over time, coming over to my style.”

Through a Japanese interpreter, Aya Seto, she said, “All Sanrio designers back then, including myself, did not want to be the Hello Kitty designer. Everyone knew Hello Kitty was not selling well. The second designer was often scolded for not producing a character that sells well, so it was not quite a prize. I just thought, ‘What am I supposed to do with this?’