One was the couturier Christian Dior, the other his chief visualiser, artist René Gruau, who has died aged 95. Gruau was invited to draw for Flair, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar in New York in the late 1950’s.
“Gruau had, in fact, persuaded Dior to accept the sponsorship of textile magnate Marcel Boussac, which made possible the House of Dior and its first, 1947, collection – the New Look, based on Dior’s childhood memories of ultra-feminine women in the belle époque era. Gruau also envisaged for Dior, and later for other designers, the spirit of their creations. Some of his artworks were what we now call “brand images” – the pearl-necklaced swan he dreamed up for Miss Dior perfume after Dior gave him a whiff and a briefing. Others proposed an enviable life of luxe, lovely women happy in chic settings. Although photography displaced art as the medium for communicating fashion, Gruau flourished. No snap ever caught the environment of glamour as did his brush.”