René GRUAU was born in Italy in 1909 of an aristocratic Italian father and a French mother, Marie GRUAU, whose name he took. He settled in Paris in 1924 and embarked on his career as a fashion illustrator. His earliest drawings were published in Italy, Germany and England.
In the 1940‘s and 50‘s Gruau became a favorite of the haute couture world, working with Femina, Marie-Claire, L’Officiel, L’Album Du Figaro and other “high-style” magazines. Some of Gruau’s best work can be seen in the dramatic visual statements he rendered for Christian Dior, Balenciaga, Elsa Schiaparelli, and Hubert de Givenchy. In 1948 Rene Gruau left for the United States to work for Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, before becoming the exclusive artist for FLAIR.
He also produced stunningly beautiful advertisements for the LIDO, MOULIN ROUGE and BEMBERG. Almost right up until his death at the age of 95, Gruau continued to work for the greatest names in Haute Couture: Balmain, Fath, Schiaparelli, Balenciaga, Givenchy, Rochas while also producing fashion drawings for ELLE, Vogue, France, Madame Figaro and L’Officiel de la Couture.
René Gruau’s bold lines and fluid style were perfectly in tune with the spirit of Dior, capturing the energy, elegance and audacity of the brand. His illustrations also tell of a special understanding Gruau had of Christian Dior himself, born of a close friendship between the two men.
Gruau influenced the graphic style of a whole generation of fashion illustrators.
- From 1935 to 1939, he worked with FEMINA, MARIE-CLAIRE, L’OFFICIEL, L’ALBUM DU FIGARO and other magazines.
- In 1946, he did his first job for INTERNATIONAL TEXTILES, whose covers he designed until 1984.
- In 1947, his friend Christian DIOR entrusted him with drawing the MISS DIOR advertisement and the famous Bar dress. the New Look was born.
- In 1948, he left for the United States to work for HARPER’S BAZAAR and VOGUE, before becoming the exclusive artist for FLAIR.
- In 1949, he devoted his time to advertising: ROUGE BAISER, LIDO, MOULIN ROUGE, BEMBERG, BLIZZAND.
- Between 1950 and now, he has worked for the greatest names in Haute Couture: BALMAIN, FATH, BALENCIAGA, GIVENCHY, ROCHAS. whilst continuing to produce fashion drawings for ELLE, VOGUE, FRANCE, MADAME FIGARO and L’OFFICIEL DE LA COUTURE.
Following in the footsteps of Toulouse-Lautrec in the 19th century, for forty years, René GRUAU was responsible for creating the image of the great cabaret shows of the 20th century.
One of the main personalities in post-war Haute Couture, He developed the NEW LOOK with DIOR…
He drew designs for the top names in French Haute Couture…
He also illustrated professional magazines with his own creations…
With admirably economical means and perfect purity of line, René GRUAU expresses and suggests every nuance of luxury and refinement…