Designer Desire: René Gruau

Mosaic of René Gruau illustrations | H is for Home

Count Renato Zavagli-Riccardelli, better known as René Gruau (1909-2004), was born in Rimini, Italy. He was probably the most well known fashion illustrator of his time – at least, his works are. Prolific in his output during his lengthy career, his work graced the covers and pages of fashion magazines such as Marie-Claire, Elle, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar. He produced illustrations for a string of haute couture fashion houses; most famously Dior, but also Givenchy, Lanvin, Balmain, Balenciaga, Elsa Schiaparelli and Elizabeth Arden. He also designed advertising posters and other material for brands such as Air France, Martini, Cinzano, Du Maurier, Rodier, Blizzand and Fellini’s film, La Dolce Vita.

His work is widely available online, from original artwork and prints on Artnet and 1st Dibs to reproduction items on eBay and Etsy. A handful of books have been published about the man and his designs – available on Amazon.

Portrait of René Gruau

Additional image credits:

Christies | Gruau Collection

a la Mode

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pile of vintage 1950s French "L'Echo de la Mode" magazines

We bought this pile of fabulous vintage French lifestyle magazines this week.

pair of vintage 1950s French "L'Echo de la Mode" magazines

L’Echo de là Mode or ‘Echoes of Fashion’.

fashion article from vintage 1950s French "L'Echo de la Mode" magazine

fashion article from vintage 1950s French "L'Echo de la Mode" magazine

fashion article from vintage 1950s French "L'Echo de la Mode" magazine

They all date from the mid 1950s.

fashion article from vintage 1950s French "L'Echo de la Mode" magazine

fashion article from vintage 1950s French "L'Echo de la Mode" magazine

fashion article from vintage 1950s French "L'Echo de la Mode" magazine

Sometimes magazines from this date have very enticing covers, but can be a little drab inside… not these!

Red and black illustrations from a vintage 1950s French "L'Echo de la Mode" magazine

fashion article from vintage 1950s French "L'Echo de la Mode" magazine

fashion article from vintage 1950s French "L'Echo de la Mode" magazine

fashion article from vintage 1950s French "L'Echo de la Mode" magazine

They’re full of wonderful colour illustrations featuring lots of ‘New Look‘ fashion articles.

fashion article from vintage 1950s French "L'Echo de la Mode" magazine

fashion article from vintage 1950s French "L'Echo de la Mode" magazine

fashion article from vintage 1950s French "L'Echo de la Mode" magazine

fashion article from vintage 1950s French "L'Echo de la Mode" magazine

fashion article from vintage 1950s French "L'Echo de la Mode" magazine fashion article from vintage 1950s French "L'Echo de la Mode" magazine

fashion article from vintage 1950s French "L'Echo de la Mode" magazine

They really conjure up images of a spring weekend in Paris or sunny holiday on the Cote d’Azur… very ironic as we bought them on a cold, wet Thursday morning in Todmorden!

holiday article from vintage 1950s French "L'Echo de la Mode" magazine

holiday article from vintage 1950s French "L'Echo de la Mode" magazine

ski-ing article from vintage 1950s French "L'Echo de la Mode" magazine

Also, there are lots of cookery articles and interior features…

Advertisement for Advertisement for Cuisine Idéale kitchens from a vintage 1950s French "L'Echo de la Mode" magazine

Feature on maisonettes from a vintage 1950s French "L'Echo de la Mode" magazine

Kitchens feature from a vintage 1950s French "L'Echo de la Mode" magazine

…and not forgetting all the advertisements which are often stunning in magazines from this period.

Advertisement for Duralex from a vintage 1950s French "L'Echo de la Mode" magazine

Advertisement for Concord washing machines from a vintage 1950s French "L'Echo de la Mode" magazine

Stove advertisement from a vintage 1950s French "L'Echo de la Mode" magazine Advertisement for Phildar wool from a vintage 1950s French "L'Echo de la Mode" magazine

Advertisement for Tide detergent from a vintage 1950s French "L'Echo de la Mode" magazine

Advertisement for Omo detergent from a vintage 1950s French "L'Echo de la Mode" magazine

Advertisement for Omo detergent from a vintage 1950s French "L'Echo de la Mode" magazine

Advertisement for Thé wafers from a vintage 1950s French "L'Echo de la Mode" magazine

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