In this month’s 2016 Met Gala-themed issue of Vogue, one image is not like the others. Amidst the celebrities, designers, and artists that come together once a year for the distinguished night of fashion history and futures, Givenchy creative director Ricardo Tisci stands beside holographic pop star Hatsune Miku.
The image pictures Tisci holding the lace tails of Miku’s stunning custom-made haute couture gown and looks admirably at her and she, standing upon a small pedestal with her signature turquoise twintails, gazes back. The image was taken during the gown fitting in the white atelier of the fashion house’s Paris studio.
The editorial perfectly harmonises this year’s Met Gala and the Costume Institute’s theme and exhibition of Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology, where Tisci’s unparalleled hand craft and Miku’s crowd-sourced musicianship both equal an incredible amount of amazement and awe.
Hatsune Miku is the world’s first virtual pop star with an incredibly diverse fan base and millions of Facebook followers. She was created by the Japanese software media firm, Crypton Future Media Inc. in 2007 and has taken the world by storm with her holographic singing and dancing. With the likeness of a sixteen-year-old girl from Sapporo, Japan and a futuristic voice, Hatsune Miku’s crowdsourcing software allows users to create music by uploading lyrics and melodies, which has amounted to over 100,000 user-released songs and over a million derivative artworks.
Chloe Malle, the social editor at Vogue says, "Several people on staff had been following Miku’s career with keen interest, and when the concept of the exhibition was first presented to us it seemed a natural embodiment to combine a couture dress (manus) with a holographic cultural icon (machina) for our special issue dedicated to the theme. It presented a unique set of challenges; we’d never gotten a rider from a hologram before.”
The Creators Project had a chance to speak with Riki Tsuji with Crypton Future Media’s North America and Europe business development team about getting Hatsune Miku ready for her fashion spread and what’s next for the virtual pop star.
The Creators Project: How has Hatsune Miku grown and progressed?
Riki Tsuji: Hatsune Miku started out simply as software, but now is headlining a full-scale North American concert tour. Along the way, there were countless creators who made music with her software, illustrations of the character, and even animators who made music videos. Miku’s progression from a software package mascot to an international pop superstar was purely creator-driven, and her fans’ creativity continue to fuel her popularity.
Hatsune Miku is obviously a huge trendsetter, how important is fashion to her?
Miku’s initial character design took in motifs and influences from synthesisers—you can see the interfaces on her sleeves and skirt. There are so many Miku’s out there, however, in different outfits drawn by countless fans—some have become popular enough to become part of her wardrobe changes in her shows!
What are some of the best reactions you’ve received from this collaboration with Vogue?
We’ve seen so many reactions, most of them surprised or amazed, but one of our favorites is someone who commented that this collaboration was “inevitable" —it’s amazing that Miku has become such a global icon.
What was like it working with Vogue to create an ultra-glamorous Hatsune Miku, is this different than how she usually is rendered?
Working with Vogue was a very exciting experience. Miku had thousands of different designs, outfits, and appearances, so building a new one was not really a problem. However, haute couture was very new territory for her, and finding the right balance to root her in the dress and in the photograph was a challenge. She had to look mature enough to match the dress, yet retain enough of her original character design, such as the iconic blue twin tails, to be identifiable as Miku. We went through several versions before we settled on a final iteration with feedback from the Vogue team.
Besides her upcoming North American tour, what’s next for Hatsune Miku?
After the MIKU EXPO North America tour, Miku is slated for a MIKU EXPO Taiwan show in late June, and then another annual major concert series called Magical Mirai in Tokyo. Beyond that, we can’t say much—what we can say, though, is that 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the very first release of the Hatsune Miku software.
Hatsune Miku is currently on her first-ever North American headlining tour — they just added more dates, because shows keep selling out. Find out her tour schedule, here.