René Gruau.

René Gruau and the Marketing and Making of the House of Dior

René Gruau for Baiser Rouge.

René Gruau for Bemberg.

René Gruau, cover International Textiles, 1975, © Derby City Prints.

René Gruau, cover of International Textiles, 1954.


Embankment Galleries
The Strand
+ 44 (0)20 ?7845 ?4600
Dior Illustrated:
René Gruau and the Line of Beauty

November 10, 2010-January 9, 2011

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 and the exhibition will feature specially commissioned pieces from five UK based illustrators, whose works will draw inspiration from the rich collaboration between Gruau and the House of Dior.

A celebration of the renowned illustrator René Gruau (1909-2004), who created some of the most iconic fashion images of the 20th century. This exciting exhibition will showcase groundbreaking artworks including original illustrations for Christian Dior Parfums, vintage perfume bottles, sketches and magazines, as well as a selection of Dior Haute Couture dresses.

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.

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.

From 1950, 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.

Illustrations were intensely very important in the haute couture world. During Gruau's life-long career he collaborated with fashion houses such as Givenchy, Balenciaga, Lanvin, Schiaparelli, and Dior in the fashion area of haute couture. His advertising campaigns for Moulin Rouge and Lido de Paris utilised an old-world aesthetic, celebrating the traditional poster-art graphics of Toulouse-Lautrec, Bonnard and the pre-1900 Parisian artists. He continued to work in advertising designing the hugely influential cinema poster for Fellini’s La Dolce Vita in 1959 and working on campaigns for names such as Dior, Air France, Martini, and Omega watches. He has been exhibited internationally at the Paris Musee du Costume and The Musee de la Publicite.

Gruau died at the age of 95 March 31, 2004.

René Gruau for Laura Biagiotti, 1981, Ink and gouache on paper, 52 x 37.5 cm

René Gruau

René Gruau

René Gruau for Charegeurs Reunis.



René Gruau, Miss Dior.