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Here, Kitty Kitty! It’s the Vans x Hello Kitty Fall 2013 Footwear and Accessories Collection













I may be allergic to cats, but that hasn’t stopped me from pledging my undying love to Hello Kitty — after all, who can resists a sassy feline with a dashing bow? The wide-eyed schoolgirl inside of me still lights up when she spots a first or second grader with a backpack featuring a Hello Kitty print (and, admittedly, the mischievous streak in that little triggers a desire to snatch that backpack right off that pig-tailed cutie’s shoulders but, fortunately, my  adult superego can subdue my childish id). Clearly, I’m not the only full-grown woman whose love for Hello Kitty has survived well into adulthood — which is why, of course, the footwear and accessories collections created by Sanrio and Vans haven’t been limited to children’s fare, instead including plenty of goodies for infants, toddlers, children, teens, juniors, and women. This month, HK fans can feast their eyes on the newly unveiled Vans x Hello Kitty Fall 2013 collection.

On the footwear front, the collection includes new styles like the Vans x Hello Kitty Sk8-Hi Slim ($70 at Vans.com), shown third above, a carnation pink canvas sneaker with white illustrations of Hello Kitty in different scenarios: riding a tricycle, popping out of a bag of 10 cent candies, sitting next to a rotary phone, and so forth.To make the color combination truly pop, the hi-top features a white stripe accent along the sides, as well as white eyelets and laces. White contrast stitching also creates a quilted effect along the ankle collar. But, of course, the standout design element of this particular sneaker is the plush Hello Kitty head positioned at the top of the tongue, a pillowy motif that will make you remember the days when you snuggled with stuffed animals in your twin size bed. Recently, these plush details have become as commonplace in the realm of sneaker embellishment as pyramid studs, glittery overlays, and embroidered patches but, of course, they lend styles a rather juvenile air, which can make them less appealing to more discerning customers like myself.  I personally can’t imagine sneakers with stuffed animal motifs being cute on anyone above the age of 5, but I do appreciate the attempt to branch out and explore different style options (however misguided this foray  might have turned out to be!). 

The Vans x Hello Kitty Bow Authentic ($60 at Vans.com), shown last above, plays with similar three-dimensional aesthetic norms but does so in a substantially more successful manner. This low-top shoe features a no-fuss silhouette, with canvas uppers featuring black illustrations of Hello Kitty that can only truly be discerned upon close inspection, black laces with just a hint of silver glitter, and a downy red bow covered in shimmery sequins that sits right atop the tongue. As with the Hello Kitty head in the Sk8-Hi, the bow detail here adds a sense of whimsy, but this time it has less of an infantile air, making it a bit more appropriate for older gals. And, if the bow itself proves to be too flashy, you can always detach it and rock the sneakers sans laces.

Fans of the sneaker boot trend that’s been picking up steam during recent seasons will love the Vans x Hello Kitty Super Hi ($65 at Vans.com), shown above at top, a boot-like, lace-up sneaker with black canvas uppers and a repeating pattern consisting of Hello Kitty’s head in metallic white and silver tones.

Those who prefer more understated styles, meanwhile, can opt for classics like the Vans x Hello Kitty Authentic in Hot Pink ($55 at Vans.com),  which features hot pink canvas uppers adorned with a coquettish print showing Hello Kitty peeking out from over a sea of bows — some a pink color and other pink with white polka dots. Another more traditional style is the Vans x Hello Kitty Authentic Low Pro ($55 at Vans.com), available in a light turquoise hue, which features a slimmer rubber outsole, narrower laces and more of an almond-shaped toe. The print for these perky sneakers depicts Hello Kitty in a fanciful universe, with tree-lined streets featuring picturesque houses surrounded by apple-bearing trees, faraway castles at the end of a rainbow, popcorn carts parked in front of Ferris Wheels,  mice riding carts while clutching a fistful of balloons, and even small inlets with palm trees and lighthouses along their perimeters.

If walking in step with Hello Kitty doesn’t seem like quite enough, you can always check out the accessories in the collection, which include the Vans x Hello Kitty Trucker Hat ($20 at Vans.com), available in black with a red brim or in white with a black brim. Both hats’ front panels  feature illustrations of Hello Kitty’s bow (in either pink or red), as well as two black dots for her eyes, a perfect yellow oval for her nose, and whiskers. The Vans x Hello Kitty Glitter Hello Kitty Purse ($25 at Vans.com), available in black or white, employs a similar design, taking Hello Kitty’s most iconic facial features and placing them front-and-center along the main canvas outer section. Unlike the trucker hat, however, the purse gives HK’s signature bow a three-dimensional twist by incorporating a plus, sequin-covered detail in lieu of a two-dimensional illustrations. The casual canvas bag boasts a slouch silhouette, with its bottom sewn to create a half moon shape, and comes with two roomy pouch pockets, one on either side of the main compartment. Collegiate sorts, meanwhile, can give their school wardrobes a rockabilly feel with the Vans x Hello Kitty Checkerboard Hello Kitty Backpack ($38 at Vans.com), which features a punk-flavored black-and-white checkerboard design.

Which pieces do you think are the cat’s meow?




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