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!