by MICHELLE WOO
Today marks the beginning of Hello Kitty Con, the world’s first ever official convention dedicated to the famed feline (who, as revealed in the most shocking news story of 2014, is not actually a cat). The beloved icon turns 40 on Saturday, and to celebrate the milestone, Sanrio is hosting a celebration of mind-exploding proportions at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in Los Angeles.
The dizzying event features Hello Kitty-themed everything, from haute couture fashions to nail art stations to bento box lessons to vintage toys to selfie-ops galore. There’s even a Hello Kitty tattoo shop where hardcore fans can profess their love for the character with pain and permanence.
Fans will surely find all the convention goodies to be purrrfect.
We got a chance to check out the media preview event on Wednesday night. Here are some photos!
An exhibition wall decorated with framed Hello Kitty gift bags.
Guests can sit in a teacup with Hello Kitty.
A vintage shop features rare and collectible items from the past. Seeing these adorable goodies brought back some childhood memories. My sister and I used to spend hours deciding on what to buy at the Sanrio store whenever our mother would allow us to take home one Hello Kitty item.
More Hello Kitty nostalgia.
The first Hello Kitty product ever made—a coin purse. On loan from Sanrio Tokyo, it’s in the United States for the very first time.
Photographs of Sanrio stores across the world.
An artist drew these adorable illustrations for guests.
Cosplayers striking a pose for the cameras.
The most peaceful cell phone charging station I have ever seen.
A cute wall (and my kid).
A fantastical scene by Los Angeles artists Dabs Myla (and my kid).
Hello Kitty x The Simpsons — the greatest mashup ever. It’s a new launch from JapanLA clothing company.
An art gallery features street art by Chicago-based POSE (Jordan Nickel).
I really wanted one of these official anniversary hoodies, but $70 was a bit much.
Curated by Stephiee Nguyen of JapanLA Clothing, “Lovely Kitty Wonder” is a fashion installation featuring 12 designers.
The gift shop.
The Hello Kitty tattoo shop is where the most diehard fans can get inked for free by artists such as the world-famous Mario DESA.
Hello Kitty and spam. It just works.
Almost-too-cute-to-eat treats from Dylan’s Candy Bar.
For the sports fans in your life.
A 3D printing of Hello Kitty. This was incredible.
Hello Kitty Con runs through Sunday, but unfortunately, tickets are sold out online. The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) in Los Angeles, however, is currently holding its Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty exhibition until April 26, 2015. Tickets are available here!