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A celebration of the renowned illustrator René Gruau (1909-2004), who created some of the most iconic fashion and beauty images of the 20th century, this exhibition will showcase groundbreaking artworks including over forty original illustrations for Christian Dior Parfums, exquisite vintage perfume bottles, sketches, magazines and poster adverts. The show will also feature a selection of Dior Haute Couture dresses personally selected by John Galliano including a special dress designed by Galliano himself, in homage to Gruau.
René Gruau’s bold lines and fluid style were perfectly in tune with the spirit of Dior, capturing the energy, elegance and audacity of the brand. His illustrations also tell of a special understanding Gruau had of Christian Dior himself, born of a close friendship between the two men.
“To be inspired by Dior is to be inspired by René Gruau. His sketches capture the silhouette and spirit of Dior and a new era of fashion and femininity. His illustrations are timeless, ever youthful, ever faithful to the moment he saw; they capture the energy, the sophistication and daring of Dior, and equally are a token of an enduring friendship.” John Galliano
Gruau influenced the graphic style of a whole generation of fashion illustrators and this exhibition will feature specially commissioned pieces from five of the UK’s most cutting-edge illustrators; Jasper Goodall, Daisy Fletcher, Erin Petson, Richard Kilroy and Sarah Arnett who will create works and limited edition prints inspired by Gruau’s work for Dior.
Curated by Christian Dior Parfums in consultation with Somerset House, the exhibition is designed by Gitta Gschwendtner.