I've been rather late on posting about this one. I wasn't even aware of the book until I saw it on Mr Porter two weeks ago, but apparently it has been out since November(?!). Assouline are known for being a brilliant and well respected publisher, so I'm not quite sure as to why this book has not been promoted more. Maybe I have just been living under a rock the last two months, buried in work, I don't know.
That aside, it's fantastic to finally see a dedicated book to Gruau's menswear illustrations. When I was asked to respond to his mens work for the Dior Illustrated exhibit at Somerset House, only a little over two years ago, even then I found it difficult to find much of it online. Since the exhibit and also one including Gruau's works at the Design Museum, it completely revitalised interest, culminating in considerable amounts of his work appearing online, frequent referencing in press, and a selection of his mens illustrations exhibited at the Paul Smith art store in London, put together by F.I.G in collaboration with Paul Smith. As I have yet to physically see the book to review it properly, I've included all the available spreads that are shown online along with a few press images (my copy is in the post). Of course, much of this is in the older post I made on Gruau's male imagery a while back, but there still manages to be some work that is fresh to my eyes.
I should point out, ALL books on Gruau seem to sell out quickly and accrue in value quickly too, so if you are thinking of purchasing, don't hesitate too long. . . .
Accompanying press release from Assouline:
Primarily known for his colorful and vivacious portrayals of women, René Gruau revolutionized the concept of masculinity in fashion imagery and advertising from the 1950s to the ’80s, depicting the modern casual, confident man with humor and sex appeal—including images of partial male nudity that were considered shocking at the time.
“Since the 1940s, the name of René Gruau has been associated with the world of fashion. Particularly affiliated with the house of Dior, for which he created some of the most iconic images in the history of fashion and beauty, Gruau also lent his unparalleled style to some of the most creative magazines of the era and to numerous advertising campaigns. Beginning in the early 1960s, he revolutionized the image of the modern man, who he depicted with a mix of humor, sex appeal, ease, and elegance. In 1956, he offered his creative services to Christian Dior for his “Dior pour hommes” collection. His work led him to meet the most avant-garde fabric manufacturers of that time, such as the house of Dormeuil, who were at the forefront in developing new materials. This previously unpublished work, taken from several of Gruau’s personal sketchbooks, is present in this book for the first time—a true lesson in fashion history.”