Rene Gruau


René Gruau: the most sophisticated and talented fashion illustrator of the twentieth century. A voyage in discovery of his style, the refined talent which created the image of Christian Dior and left an unmistakeable mark on the advertising and fashion of the twentieth century.

Renato Zavagli : this name  is unfamiliar to many, but we all recognize a René Gruau drawing.

René Gruau  – Zavagli is  his real Italian surname –  influenced the image of international haute couture like no-one else.

He gave form and life to a new vision of femininity : from neutral “clothes-hangers” the women became  protagonists aware of their own charm.

Unusual angles and revolutionary stylistic approaches:  Gruau changed illustration for ever.

He was responsible for some of the advertising campaigns which made advertising history.

Stylist, advertising designer, magazine illustrator, costume artist, stage designer… Gruau worked in the world of fashion from the 1930s until the 1990s with an inimitable light touch, innate elegance and instantly recognizable style.

No apprenticeship, no hard work to rise through the ranks: Gruau had a natural talent which enchanted everyone from the general public to stylists and magazine editors from his earliest works…

Gruau worked in France, Britain, Italy, the United States, creating the image of great fashion houses such as Dior and adorning with his drawings the covers of Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Flair. He worked also for Balenciaga, Chanel, Fath, Schiaparelli

This documentary  highlights the most innovative and original features of the art of René Gruau focusing the role he has  played in changing the representation of fashion and women. The womand drawn by Gruau is not an elegant but remote “mannequin” wearing refined creations by great tailors. She is a woman aware of the charm and seduction that comes from elegance. She does not lower her eyes: she looks at us with the same pride with which the models parade today … she is a new woman who is a prelude to the emancipation of the seventies of the twentieth century. She is a revolutionary in an evening dress.




director: Adolfo Conti

locations: Parigi, Roma, Milano, Rimini

year: 2012

lenght:  55′ e 26′




A  Doc Art production in collaboration with NDR / ARTE, Rai Educational, ERT, The AVRO e René Gruau s.a.r.l.


producer: Amalia Carandini

Archive producer: Ilaria Sbarigia

cinematography and editing: Eugenio Persico

music: Pasquale Catalano


Martine Assouline

Réjane Bargiel

Roberto Capucci

Jean Jacques Clerico

Dominic Dormeuil

Hubert de Givenchy

Jean Paul Goude

Philippe Le Moult

Patrick Mauriès

Marie-José Susskind Jalou

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