Shufa and the fashion illustration_part III: René Gruau

For those who read my previous articles about shufa and the influence of calligraphy in the modern art, today we will talk about one of my favorite fashion illustrators: René Gruau. If you did not get to read the previous articles, here they are:

Shufa and the fashion illustration_part II

Shufa and the fashion illustration_part I

René Gruau was a renowned fashion illustrator whose exaggerated portrayal of fashion design through painting has had a lasting effect on the fashion industry. As you can read on Wikipedia, “Gruau became one of the best known and favorite artists of the haute couture world during the 1940s and 50s working with Femina, Marie-Claire, L’Officiel, L’Album Du Figaro and an assortment of  high-style magazines.Born Renato Zavagli Ricciardelli delle Caminate in Rimini, Italy, Gruau took his mother’s name and moved to Paris, when his parents got separated. He started to paint at the age of 14 and 6 years later, at 20, he was already famous: his drawings were already published internationally.

He worked for major designers like Pierre Balmain, Christian Dior, Jacques Fath, Balenciaga, Elsa Schiaparelli, Rochas, Lanvin, Elizabeth Arden, and Hubert de Givenchy.

Gruau was inspired by Japanese drawings and Toulouse-Lautrec’s sketches of fin de siècle Paris night life. He continued to draw fashion illustrations until the fashion magazines preferred to use fashion photography for a modern look and a more explicit manner in presenting clothing.

But Gruau continued working in advertising, designing cinema posters 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. In 2011, John Galliano created a Spring/Summer Haute Couture Collection inspired by René Gruau’s illustrations. See below some images.


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