René worked with the most established names in the fashion world, including Chanel, Christian Lacroix, Lanvin, Balenciaga, Givenchy and Balmain. But it was the collaboration with House of Dior and his unique friendship with Christian Dior that gained him immense fame and stamped his reputation. The relationship was not only vital for Gruau but for Christian Dior as well. René became the artistic director of advertising for Dior, and his work was pivotal in launching Christian Dior’s New Look in 1947.
As Gruau once recalled: “… probably it was Christian Dior, always so fretful, the one I felt the closest to. He used to tell me his ideas, I would show him my drawings; it was a sort of extremely prolific rivalry, which I would never find again with anybody else after his death.”
Both René and Christian shared a similar aesthetic and true passion for elegant, sophisticated mothers. They were both brought up by refined women who divided their time between Monte Carlo and Paris, in an environment influenced by art, travel and fashion.
John Galliano, a former designer at Christian Dior, once suggested that Gruau was a master at capturing Dior’s style and spirit. For many, thinking about René is visualising the essence of Dior.
René Gruau posters, © Gruau Collection