Do you know of René Gruau? I myself only heard of him a couple months ago. BUT, I for sure have seen and been inspired by his work throughout my whole life, without actually knowing of him. And it is very clear to me that he has had many followers in the illustration and advertising worlds. Looking at his pictures I am completely mesmarized by his skill and the casual ease in which he captures the essence of a garment or style. The text below is taken mainly from an article about him on Wikipedia. I have shortened it severely. The pictures are placed in a completely random order. Hope you enjoy! :-)
René Gruau was a renowned fashion illustrator whose exaggerated portrayal of fashion design through painting has had a lasting effect on the fashion industry. Gruau became one of the best known and favorite artists of the haute couture (high fashion) world during the 1940s and 50s.
Born in Italy 1909, Gruau was the son of an Italian count and a French aristrocrat. When René's mother and father separated when he was three, he moved to Paris with the mother. Gruau then took her last name. His passion and inclination for arts led him to a love and pursuance of fine arts.
At 14, Gruau began to support his mother and himself by selling drawings to the Milanese fashion journal Lidel. He demonstrated talent for drawing throughout much of his early life and worked as an illustrator for fashion magazines such as Femina, Marie Claire and Vogue in Paris in his teens and early 20s.
Gruau found it difficult to find work during World War II and ultimately found little work for small or unestablished designers such as Christian Dior before he became popular during this time.
Gruau's first position as artistic director for advertising was in 1947 with Christian Dior. The two together formed the "New Look" of the time, partially a result of Dior's designs, and partially a result of Gruau's combined interpretation and upgrading of old-style graphic illustration. Gruau formed a friendship with Dior that contributed to their successful collaboration and further enlargement of fashion advertisement, which a primary reason he is mostly remembered for his work with Dior.
Gruau, whose posters often echoed both classical Japanese drawings and Toulouse-Lautrec's sketches of fin de siècle Paris night life, was perhaps best known for creating the marketing images for Miss Dior perfume and for Rouge Baiser lipstick.
Gruau moved to the United States in 1948 to work for Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. He remained with the magazine for two years, and then went to work as sole illustrator for Flair.
René Gruau passsed away in 2004 and remained artistically active up to a very high age. Today Gruau’s works are collected and exhibited by the finest art institutions including the Louvre in Paris.
Don't you feel inspired now? I hope so. I certainly do. :-)
All my best,