The Mackintosh Library recently played host to a special tableau vivant for the conference Crafting the Look: Styling as Creative Process.
The conference, organised by GSA lecturers Robyne Calvert and Rachel Grew, sought to analyse the creative process of styling – the purposeful construction of a ‘look’ –whether it be in dress, space, or object. In contemporary visual culture, the professional stylist is familiar largely within fashion, but can also be found in other design fields such as architecture, interiors, product design, film, journalism, and commercial photography. The stylist is perhaps an overlooked creative figure, although many artists and designers have themselves been stylists of a sort in their own practice. Yet the act of styling as a form of creative production has had extremely limited discussion.
Students of Robyne’s Artistic Dress course once again resurrected their period costumes to stage a tableau vivant in the beautiful setting of our Mackintosh Library. The tableau vivant was a popular form of artistic performance in the 19th century, in which groups of costumed participants strike poses and assume group compositions in theatrically lit interiors. Conference attendees were encouraged to walk round the space and encounter these tableaux as part of the first evening’s entertainments. You may even spot a GSA Librarian striking a pose of two!
Crafting the Look took place from 24-25 April 2014.