AFP

HONG KONG

The flamboyant designer of Japanese cartoon and global mega-brand Hello Kitty defended the cute cat against new rivals Thursday as the character prepares to celebrate her 40th birthday.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Hong Kong Book Fair, Yuko Yamaguchi took the concept of life imitating art to another level, wearing a Kitty-style strawberry dress with dyed auburn hair piled into two buns topped with a red ribbon - the cat’s signature accessory.