Rene Gruau

Rene Gruau (Feb. 4 1909- March 31-2004) is a renowned fashion illustrator whose portrayal of fashion design through painting has had a lasting effect on the fashion industry. Born Renato Zavagli Ricciardelli, in Rimini, Italy, his father was  an Italian count and his mother a French aristocrat. His parents separated when he was very young. As a child, Rene drew all the time. He never took any art lessons."I never studied drawing, never took any courses, I taught myself over many years…I always wanted to do posters. Advertising drawing…gives you the freedom to resolve visual problems which are almost always difficult but often varied and stimulating and always new."

Rene's natural talent for drawing was noticed by one of his mother's relatives, Vera Rossi Lodomez, editor of the Milan fashion magazine Lidel. One of Rene's drawings was published when he was 15 years old. By 18 he had been published internationally. This started a long and fruitful career. He worked for Lidel from 1924-1932. Finally he moved to Paris in the early 1930's with his mother and at that time he took his mothers name. 

When asked to name poster designers that had influenced his work he said Marcello Dudovitch and Leonetto Cappiello. There are obvious similarities in their work and their philosophy of what Gruau called "the line" what Cappiello refers to as "…the arabesque. A line! But the line is the basis of all the arts. A single line can express grandeur, nobility and sensuality- it is the synthesis of all sensations and the concentration of all knowledge." Gruau went a long way with his line, his arabesque. Perhaps his most successful line is his signature

It is difficult to summarize such a long & succsessful career as Rene Guau had during his 80 years in the fashion industry. Working for fashion magazines like Lidel, Vogue, Marie Claire, L'Officiel, Harpers Bazaar & Look. Hired by designers like Pierre Balmain, Jacques Fath, Balenciaga, Rochas, Lanvin, Elizabeth Arden, Hubert de Givenchy and Christian Dior. His first Artistic Director position was to launch Christian Dior's first perfume "Miss Dior". As well, he designed a line of mens clothing for Dior in the 1950's. Gruau worked on costume and stage sets, for the Monte Carlo ballet & designed the costumes for the film "White Christmas" with Bing Crosby & Danny Kaye. From his lipstick ads in the 40's, to his movie poster for Fellini's "La Dolce Vita",  we have grown up with Rene Gruau's captivating, elegant and sensual images.

Over the years Rene created  what came to be known as "The Gruau Woman"  … A Very Special Woman

Elegant, Distinguished, Animated…Tres Chic!