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Dior Illustrated: Rene Gruau and the Line of Beauty


08 Monday 08th November 2010
Somerset House are celebrating the iconic work of renowned fashion illustrator Rene Gruau from November 10 – January 9 by showcasing his drawings for Christian Dior. Gruau is responsible for illustrating some of the most iconic fashion images of the 20th century, the exhibition will showcase a selection of over 40 original illustrations for Dior parfums, along with vintage perfume bottles, sketches, magazine adverts and a handful of Dior Haute Couture dresses picked out by John Galliano.
The current Dior designer Galliano has designed a dress in homage to Gruau that will be revealed at the exhibition. As if that wasn’t exciting enough, there are also a number of events taking place at Somerset House to coincide with it.
Gruau, the son of an aristocrat, was born in Italy in 1909. By the time he was 18 he had published work everywhere from Europe to the United States. He had a fantastic reputation and was a favourite artist of the designers in the Haute Couture world in the 40s and 50s. Throughout his career he worked for numerous magazines including Elle, Vogue, Harpar’s Bazaar and worked alongside designers such as Givenchy, Lanvin, Elizabeth Arden and of course Dior.
It is said that the style of Gruau was perfectly in tune with the spirit of Dior and that is why their collaboration was such a huge success. His work is timeless, sophisticated and has inspired a whole generation of illustrators. The exhibition also celebrates the effect Gruau has had on today’s industry by featuring the work of five cutting edge UK illustrators including Daisy Fletcher and Richard Kilroy. They have created limited edition prints that were inspired by Gruau’s work for Dior and will be for sale at the exhibition. The contemporary illustrators will also be holding a talk on the evening of the 18th discussing how the legacy of Rene Guau continues to influence new illustrators.
Other events taking place whilst this exhibition is open includes a late studio which is an opportunity to take part in a fashion illustration class, a documentary screening called Christian Dior: The Man behind the Myth and talks from fashion insiders. The exhibition is held at the Embankment Galleries, Somerset House and the opening hours are daily from 10.00 to 18.00. This is a unique opportunity to see some legendary work by the world famous Rene Gruau. 

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