European Fashion Heritage Association

Journal Fashion & History

EFHA Focus: ‘Elegant Evening Wear for Two Moods’, 1971


An elegant and flamboyant idea of evening menswear sketched by René Gruau

The image shows a sketch made by fashion illustrator René Gruau in 1971.

The illustrations depicts a man posing while wearing a fitted red jacket, elegant shirt with ruches and a necktie, and tailored trousers. The title of the illustration is ‘Elegant Evening Wear for Two Moods’: the fact that it is titled probably indicates that the illustration was produced for a publication. On the sides of the main sketch are some notes in pencil and different signs of the author, attached with tape.

During the 1940s and throughout the 1950s, René Gruau, born Renato Zavagli Ricciardelli delle Caminate in Rimini, Italy, was one of the most well-known and appreciated illustrators of the post-war period. His works were featured in fashion magazine such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Femina and Flair, for whom he worked as sole illustrator for a period. Besides his job as illustrator for publications, he also collaborated with couturiers like Pierre Balmain, Elsa Schiaparelli and Christian Dior, for whom he illustrated advertisement campaigns that became iconic. Even though he mainly concentrated on Haute Couture and fashion for women, he did not stop there: from 1949 to 1975, he illustrated menswear for ‘Club’, an Italian magazine dedicated to men’s fashion, costributing to the affirmation of a certain kind of ‘soft’ masculinity, sustained by the clothes that were designed and sold after WW2.