Saturday, 11 February 2012

Wedding Inspiration: René Gruau

This is a picture-heavy post with not much text because I've recently fallen in love with the work of an illustrator which I'd like to share with you, and it is more than capable of speaking for itself. When I recently announced that I had got engaged and requested help from the lovely vistors to my blog with sourcing inspiration for my wedding dress and bridesmaid's dress, Cecile left the link to a google search for the illustrator René Gruau and it immediately blew my mind.

A quick bit of research later and I found out a bit more. Gruau was born in Rimini, Italy, in 1909. His French mother separated from his father when he was two or three years old. She often moved and traveled, and her son accompanied her. In the late 1920s, they moved to Paris, France, where he later started his career as an illustrator of fashion. In France, he was one of the best known illustrators of haute couture in the 1940s and 1950s, working for major design houses like Dior, Balmain and Givenchy, as well as many high-end magazines. He moved to the US in 1948 where he worked for Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, as well as on many advertising campaigns for gloves, perfume, cosmetics, lingerie, fabrics and so on.

Handily, he frequently worked in my chosen wedding colour palette (red, black and white), and I love how his restricted choice of colour brings focus to his subjects. Gruau's work also really reflects the sense of mid-century glamour I'd like to inject into this wedding, particularly through the dresses. I'm not sure I'm capable of quite the level of poise and elegance his muses project, but by attempting to add one part 'Gruau' to one part my normal level of kitschy-retro, and I'm hoping the outcome will be a look that hits a spot that is both timeless enough for the photos not to be embarrassing in a decade's time, but also authentically 'us'. Cecile is a very perceptive lady!

Looking again at the dresses I found most inspirational from all the suggestions I was given, I can feel some real similarities between them and Gruau's illustrations. Plus, I love the way his subjects are often exposing quite a bit of flesh, but steer completely clear from being 'trampy'. Lots of exposed shoulders, collar bones and backs, curvy calves and slender ankles: the female form is shown at its most delicious.

And while I know the my pretty-average height and weight to be quite that sleek and lithe, plus my tattoos and general cheekiness will prevent me from ever obtaining quite the level of class expressed by his muses, I'm pretty excited about what adding a touch of Gruau into the mixing pot will help produce!











So, what are your thoughts? What do you feel are the most exciting elements of his work? What do you think I could take from it when planning looks for myself and my bridesmaid? Thanks in advance for your opinions and assitance!

14 comments:

Leah Franqui said...

Oh, wow. These are just stunning. I love the simplicity of the prints, the spareness, the way part of the body is always hidden. That blue dress with that insane blue feather hat is just to die for, if you put your bridesmaids in that they would die of happiness.

I also really love the way the bodies of the women become geometric shapes, so they are both beautiful women and beautiful shapes and images.

Oh, to live in black and white and red...
strugglesewsastraightseam.wordpress.com

Cecili said...

Zoe when I think of you I picture you like one of these elegant, glamour and smiling Gruau ladies so you'd rock these amazing red dresses, height, weight, tattoos and all :) I can especially imagine your wedding dress like the last design but in a cocktail length btw

wendy said...

I agree that the last dress would make a totally fabulous wedding dress, and it has the bows you liked on some of the other designs you recently posted.
I cannot wait to see what you finally decide on!

joellestlaurent said...

gosh, i just fell in love...

Hillary said...

OK I'm still swooning from this, but I am adding swoon on this too: dreamy Vogue Paris Original auction check out this back detail, you could really rock something like this--

and I 100% agree with Chichil- the last picture- yes yes.

Hillary said...

And the shape of the blue one with the tipi hat, the two up from bottom, could see you in that too- such glamour! Are you doing the elbow gloves?

MrsC said...

Oo lala! I love the last one best as well. The strapless ones are amazing but there is something so sensuous and classy about that neckline and the shoulder detail is gorgeous. Loving the long glove thing too! Would you rock the gloves?
And poo to them looking all long and languid remember your stand, girl, and that frocks are meant to make us look good not the other way around. Models and illustrations are there to make the dress look good, it's their job. From there on in, the dress is supposed to work for us!!

theperfectnose said...

I remember seeing his stuff in old Vogue/ Harper's Baz issues. I'm pretty sure he did some stuff for the New Yorker (either that or they did a feature on him at some point??). Thanks for posting these. BTW you might want to get discus for your blog-openid tends to be crap on the best of days which means you're basically missing out on comments from anyone that isn't on blogspot/blogger.

didyoumakethat said...

Gorgeous and VERY you! I think these clean silhouettes would suit your gorgeous figure down to the ground. It's just deciding which is the design detail to add... Decisions, decisions! Any thoughts on fabric yet?

Zoe said...

Aww, thanks very much ladies!!!

@Hillary, thanks very much for the links, muy interestante!!!

@Wendy, yeah I noticed the similarity between the bows in the illustration and that other dress too, interesting, eh?!

@Karen, no I haven't given much thought to fabric yet. I kind of thought the final dress design would lead the way in that respect. Then I planned to head to Berwick street and try to not get overwhelmed!

@theperfectnose, thanks for the tipoff about Discus, I'll investigate...

Hmm, well signs do seem to be pointing towards gloves, don't they?! Maybe for teh evening do, if not the ceremony?

Zoe xxx

Alana said...

Okay, so now, whenever I see a red dress I think of Zo! Shazam!
x

Romney said...

Seriously lovely stuff. Very classy. Quite exposed dresses some of them, but only one area at a time. Really stark shapes.

Sewing Princess said...

very feminine style I would say. Elegant touch...a bit retro. Reminds me of Toulouse Lautrec's paintings. I love the last 2.

Anonymous said...

Hi Zoe,
I´m Isabel, you probably don´t remember me, but I am the spanish girl living in Berlin who made a couple of comments on your blog. I have been silent, but still reading you! First of all: Congrats! It is really exciting. I just saw this picture and thought of you, maybe you also like it.
http://quincewithsugar.tumblr.com/post/17097943535/by-coralie-beatrix
Greetings!

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