Meet ‘Lulu Hashimoto’ — a human being clad in a full-body doll costume consisting of a wig, a mask and stockings patterned with doll-like joints.
According to her creator Hitomi Komaki, she is the first ‘living doll model’ in the world.
Often surprising passers-by when walking the streets of Tokyo, Lulu was born out of 23-year-old Komaki’s desire to create the “epitome of cuteness”.
Dressing up as a mascot, called “kigurumi” in Japanese, is a popular art form in Japan. Komaki has taken it to a new level by creating a body suit that looks like a doll and lets you move like a human.
“I have always really liked dolls and, for me, dolls are the epitome of cuteness. So I decided (to create) a doll, without hesitation,” Komaki said.
There is only one Lulu body suit, Komaki said, but dancers, designers and models are among those who have worn the costume. The identity of exactly who is inside at any given time is secret, she added.
The stockings worn by Lulu were created by fellow fashion designer Koh Ueno, who airbrushesdoll-like joints onto the material.
Lulu, though not yet a household name, has mesmerised tens of thousands of her fans both on Twitter and Instagram. They turn out in droves for events at the weekend, hoping to catch a glimpse of their other-worldly idol in the flesh.
While popular among fans of Japanese subculture, Lulu is now turning heads at the annual Miss iD beauty pageant, where she is among the 134 semi-finalists chosen from around 4,000 entrants.
The pageant, which includes “non-human” characters generated by artificial intelligence and three-dimensional computer graphics for the first time, will announce a winner in November.