René Gruau was a very talented Italian-born illustrator who became a French fashion illustrator. He was born Renato Zavagli Ricciardelli in Rimini in 1909 in an aristocrats’ family, with an Italian father and a French mother. Following the divorce of his parents when he was very young, and his mother’s move to Paris, René took the maiden name of his well-born, artistically inclined French mother, Maria Gruau de la Chesnaie. He lived and worked in France.
René Gruau worked at the front line of high fashion for more than 60 year, with the most brilliant fashion designers such as Dior, Givenchy and Lanvin, and high class music-halls such as the Moulin Rouge and the Lido.
He was “a man of the world and of many skills” : he was an illustrator, a poster artist, a painter, he designed costumes and stage sets, and even created his own collection of clothing in 1948-49.
What an incredible man!!