Embracing Our Inner 12-Year Old @ Hello Kitty

Many Los Angeles nightlife events would barely register a blip in New York. It’s lightweight central, managing to seem both unsophisticated and jaded big city at the same time. “Big” events happen here, but there isn’t this fever and desperation that exists at the best of New York parties — this feeling that if you don’t get inside, you are missing something Very Important and possibly Historic. L.A. is, like, whatever. We headed to the Hello Kitty 35th Anniversary “Three Apples” opening at Royal-T last night in Culver City, expecting another such event: a little pop up party, a fair amount of people, a red carpet with a Kardashian sister and some reality stars we’d never heard of, a relaxed crowd milling around inside, chillin’ out, dude. What we got (see full gallery) was a mob scene. A throng.

People lined up on either side of the block, 10 or 15 thick, down the street, teeming with energy. They were decked out in their very, very Hello Kitty best. Giant red bows floated above the heads in the crowd. Pink hair, green hair. Platinum teased hair into astronomical buns. One guy said to another guy: “You shoulda worn your pink bow, dude. You might have gotten in.”

There was glitter. Big poofy skirts. Little girl ankle socks worn with silver strappy sandals. The fire department and the Culver City police were on hand, trying to get the excited masses to go to the right or the left, to stay on the sidewalk. Controlling them was made harder when a probably very-famous-in-Japan celebrity showed up; he had tawny feathered hair and wore sunglasses at night, and a cluster of Japanese fans swarmed around him as the photographers scrambled for a picture.

Everyone tittered. They weren’t moving off the street. It didn’t matter that the venue was at capacity. They had to get in. And they would, somehow. This was all for a cat, remember that.

We finally were pulled in with the herd, and it was as chaotic and exciting inside as it was outside. There was so much to look at, both the patrons and the art — and the store, oh the store, in which we fought our desire to own (for no reason at all) tiny little pink pens and pads of paper, lipgloss in rings, and a $150 glittery, swank Hello Kitty wallet.

We might have succumbed were it not for the gift bag: amongst other things, it included a tiny mirror, a Pez dispenser, and a wallet, which included a $25 gift card to Target. “Oh my god!” exclaimed a woman sitting next to me. “Free bottles of wine and free money! I love this place!”

There were displays of Kitty memorabilia from past and present, and probably, the future: a Hello Kitty dialup phone suspended in a glass case. A giant pink Hello Kitty head loomed over the proceedings. Glittery, fake-diamond-encrusted kitties taunted us as we made our way through the glammed-up crowd, which included Dave Navarro, Paris Hilton, Kimora Lee Simmons (who, by the way, is absolutely giant), and porn star Tera Patrick, who is a major Hello Kitty fan and is often seen wearing the insignia.

One of the biggest complaints my New York friends have about Los Angeles is the abject lack of fashion. The weather makes you lazy. Even though you don’t spend hours walking, you don’t take advantage of this luxury and wear nice heels; you wear ballet flats and flip flops. You might never get out of those jeans and change into a skirt that’s form-fitting and interesting because a gauzy top and willowy jersey knit cotton dress is easier to wear at the beach. After all, this is the town Juicy Couture sprung from.

This was ostensibly a Fashion Week event, but while people were not fashionable in the sense that they wore Prada or Marc Jacobs, they were stylish. It was the best-dressed crowd I’ve yet to see here. They made it hard to look at the other stuff, but we forced ourselves to check out the silver trailer, decorated and designed by Cynthia Rowley and outfitted in pink checkerboard and Hello Kitty touches. I would totally live there and I’m not even 12.

We checked out the Japan L.A art show; much of it was already sold, included a Mona Lisa Hello Kitty and a kitty that resembled a soft sweet marshmallow being cuddled. There were weird twisted versions of the cat, grinning evil little smiles at us. It didn’t matter. They all were enchanting. We had found Oz, Never Never Land, and the pot of gold under the rainbow, and we didn’t ever want to leave.

The Hello Kitty “The Apples Exhibition” is running till November 14, with more events happening throughout the course of its run, including another all-day event on Saturday, as well as a Halloween party.

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