Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Man from Gruau

I am sure that most of you (like me) just adore the illustrations of Rene Gruau. One of the most prolific and well respected fashion illustrators of the last century, his work is instantly recognisable. With just a few brush strokes and some blocks of colour he created images that moved with the times. Although spanning several decades his drawings were always au courant with the period they were drawn, and yet remain timeless.

The influence Gruau had on the art of fashion illustration was enormous. Commissioned by major couturiers, magazines, and perfume houses they invariably contain women, but what about the men?

One of my all time favourite advertisements is the below drawing Gruau did for Christian Dior’s Eau Sauvage. Our young man has definitely moved with the times and sports a hippy style mass of curly hair that covers his eyes, like a shaggy sheep dog. All we see is his rather self contented smile, confident in knowing that his bottle of Eau Savage is close at hand!

Gruau’s men are sexy and mischievous. They are carefree and always in pursuit of someway to make them more attractive to the opposite sex. They move with the times adopting the latest fashion and hairstyles, to convey a suave cool elegance which is sometimes quite detached.

Clients ranged from McGregor sports wear to Christian Dior, proving that his talent was a force to be reckoned with and that for advertising there was no better man to do the job.

As the century wore on his men became more stylised with solid blocks of colour. There is a safety in numbers as they ride motor bikes or adopt Zorro like guise while wearing Eminence underwear.

So here’s to the almost forgotten men of Gruau! We salute you!

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