René Gruau (February 4, 1909 – March 31, 2004) renowned fashion illustrator who is best known for an exaggerated portrayal of fashion design through painting. The highly stylized works are tinged with a glossy advertising or fashion magazine focus yet wholly timeless. His works also show hints of Japanese clean line drawings and Toulouse-Lautrec’s’s infamous, sometimes grotesque depiction of women in nightlife.
A couture woman in Gruau’s illustrations is as stylish in 1950 as she is today. They are elegant, sensual and cheeky. They might also be dripping with frivolities and bits of superficial luxuries with a “devil-may-care” attitude. During his lifetime, the artist was hired by major designers like Pierre Balmain, Christian Dior, Jacques Fath, Balenciaga, Elsa Schiaparelli, Rochas, Lanvin, Elizabeth Arden, and Hubert de Givenchy. I want to live in one of his vignettes; so let’s try below!
REPOSE, 1964, Gouache, felt pen and ink on paper