Tableaux Vivants Design

Tableau vivant (plural: tableaux vivants) means “living picture”. The term, borrowed from the French language, describes a group of suitably costumed actors or artist’s models, carefully posed and often theatrically lit. Throughout the duration of the display, the people shown do not speak or move. The approach thus marries the art forms of the stage with those of painting or photography. The most recent heyday of the tableau vivant was the 19th century, with nude tableaux vivants or poses plastiques providing a form of erotic entertainment.

Tableaux Vivants Prestige Clad in latex pieces and body-con dresses, actress and model LYDIA HEARST vamps it up in front of the camera

Before radio, film and television, tableaux vivants were popular forms of entertainment, even in frontier towns. Before the age of color reproduction of images, the tableau vivant (often abbreviated to tableau) was sometimes used to recreate paintings “on stage”. This could be done as an amateur venture in a living room, or as a more professionally produced series of tableaux presented on a theatre stage, one following another, usually to tell a story without requiring all the usual trappings of a “live” theatre performance. They ‘educated’ their audience to understand the form taken by later magic lantern shows and perhaps sequential narrative comic strips (which first appeared in modern form in the late 1890s).

Tableaux Vivants website entry

These tableaux vivants were often performed as the basis for school nativity plays in England during the Victorian period. The custom is still practiced at Loughborough High School which is believed to be one of England’s oldest grammar schools for girls. Ten tableaux are performed each year at the school carol service, including the depiction of an engraving en grisaille. The subjects are painted completely grey.

Theatrical censorship in Britain and the US forbade actresses to move when nude or semi-nude on stage, so tableaux vivants had a place in risqué entertainment for many years although in the early 1900s.


In the nineteenth century they took such titles as “Nymphs Bathing” and “Diana the Huntress”. Nude and semi-nude tableaux vivants were also a frequent feature of variety shows in the U.S. The Ziegfeld Follies featured tableaux vivants from 1917. The Windmill Theatre in London (1932–1964) featured nude tableaux vivants on stage; it was the first, and for many years the only venue for them in 20th century London.

Tableaux Vivants Swimsuit polka dot

Tableaux vivants were often included in fairground sideshows. Such shows had largely died out by the 1970s. Tableaux vivants remain a major attraction at the annual Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach, CA.

Tableaux Vivants Axl Rosethorne 3 piece set Tableaux Vivants Assymetrical Harness
Tableaux Vivants SNL Lady Gagatableaux-vivants-color block dress and top

dievca just thinks it is a great brand for Latex dressing!
Gorgeous. XO


21 Comments on “Tableaux Vivants Design”

  1. Pelelotus says:

    History and latex, an irresistible mix x


    • dievca says:

      I found the name of the company to be an interesting choice — I think it fits well with the product (I don’t run in my latex, I pose…after the rolled sausage incident. Past Post). 😀


  2. esther says:

    hmmm…maybe? xx


  3. You post the most fascinating things…I like your mind dievca. Don’t ever change.


  4. Cinn says:

    I never thought I liked latex…. until now. 🙂


  5. hispetitelle says:

    I think this art form needs to be incorporated into Burlesque shows, either as part of an act or an act in itself. The idea of a unique Tableau Vivant telling a story would be an enticing feature between burlesque and cabaret acts, with all performance pieces contributing to one main storyline, has gotten my creative juices flowing. The Tableaux Vivants would serve as punctuation. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow thank you for the introduction! I’m not into latex but I think I’m not allergic to it either 🙂 These designs are surreal and I’m sure Marquis de Sade would have approved of these tableaux vivants!


  7. Allison says:

    How fabulous all the way around. Love the education, the photos and your spirit throughout, lovely d. 😉 XO


    • dievca says:

      What is in a name? It all started with the name of the latex clothing brand. I didn’t know what it meant so I went searching. Never hurts to know a little bit of odd trivia, right?Might win a million dollars… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  8. jackiemallon says:

    Oh, I get it…duh…I kept wondering as you described so eloquently the origin of the phrase who the lovely clothes were by. Clearly I need some sleep.
    Latex, lovely, not yet suitable for sleepwear.


  9. Fairy Queen says:

    I’ve been to Pageant of the Masters several times. It’s absolutely magical, a must see really! They pick a theme every year. My favorite so far was one where they recreated art from the art deco style. Especially when they recreated a set of crystal perfume bottles with female figures as the bottle stoppers. Of course they were done life size with real models! Breathtaking! Part of the gimmick is they have to make it look like the real object. I don’t know how they do it but with makeup and lighting they made the models look like crystal!


    • dievca says:

      How fantastic! Something to see for the future. I know that Elle would be interesting in seeing an excellent art form/show, too.
      Thank you for letting us know more about it. Time to road trip to CA. XO

      Liked by 1 person


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