Style » Fashion

René Gruau’s Sexy Men of Style

Wednesday Oct 10, 2012

As one of fashion's most respected illustrators, René Gruau was the brush behind some of the most iconic and arresting imagery for many designers and magazines from the 1940s to the '80s.

The name of René Gruau has been synonymous with fashion since the 1940s, and he is particularly associated with the house of Dior, for which he created some of the most enduring and iconic images in the history of fashion and beauty.

Responsible for Dior's most legendary advertisements, Gruau captured the carefree everyday through a bold color palette, relaxed lines, and slim silhouettes.

Previously known for his colorful and vivacious portrayals of women, Gruau revolutionized the concept of masculinity in fashion imagery and advertising from the 1960s to the '80s, depicting the modern casual, confident man with humor and sex appeal-including images of partial male nudity that were considered shocking at the time.

His gestural drawings offered a new and confident portrayal of the male form and lifestyle, which, though shocking at the time, acted as a visual milestone within the history of fashion illustration.

According to Gruau, "A line... is the basis of all art. With a single line we can express grandeur, nobility, and sensuality; the line synthesizes sensations and concentrates knowledge."

René Gruau, born in Italy to an aristocratic Italian father and a French mother, whose maiden name he adopted, settled in Paris in 1924 to embark on a career as a fashion illustrator.

Assouline announced the release of their newest title, Gruau: Portraits of Men, by Sylvie Nissen and Réjane Bargiel.

Nissen is an art dealer with galleries in Paris and Cannes featuring works by Asian artists, plus the work of René Gruau, which she represents exclusively worldwide. Nissen has contributed to many publications about the artist and has curated and commissioned exhibitions of his work around the globe.

Vincent Leret, heritage manager at Christian Dior Parfums in Paris, regularly contributes to works on the history of fashion and perfume, and has curated numerous exhibits of Gruau’s illustrations for Christian Dior. Previously, Nissen and Leret cowrote René Gruau’s First Century (Thalia, 2009).

Gruau Portraits of Men is available for purchase at ASSOULINE boutiques worldwide and through


Gruau: Portraits of Men
By Réjane Bargiel and Sylvie Nissen
9½ x 13 in - 24.1 x 33 cm
260 pages | 250 illustrations | hardcover ?
ISBN: 9781614280781
$95 - €70 - £60?



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