THE LINE OF BEAUTY

After afternoon tea at Sketch on Sunday, we excitedly hurried along to Somerset House to see Dior Illustrated: René Gruau and the Line of Beauty. As huge fans of the renowned illustrator, as well as Christian Dior of course, this had been on our must-see list for quite some time.

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Miss Dior, René Gruau, 1971, Private Collection, © SARL René Gruau

Showcasing over forty original illustrations that Gruau did for Christian Dior Parfums – as well as displays of exquisite vintage perfume bottles, sketches, magazines, poster adverts and truly beautiful haute couture dresses selected by John Galliano himself – the exhibition lived up to our high expectations.

As we wandered through the beautifully curated displays and examined the bold fluid lines and flat panes of colour that have made Gruau one of the most iconic fashion illustrators of the 20th century, we started to wish we lived in bygone times. Elegant, energetic and audacious, the work that Dior and Gruau collaborated on together truly captured the spirit of the Dior and has cemented the visual identity of Dior's beauty empire.

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Diorella, René Gruau, 1972, Private Collection, © SARL René Gruau

You can't help but adore the way that Gruau depicted the daily gestures and attitudes of women through his work. Our favourite illustrations are the ones in which he captures the essence of luxury with a daring and unexpected symbol – such as a hand, a swan, or a fan.

We think this quote from John Galliano – currently the creative director at Dior – depicts exactly why this an exhibition you have to see: "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."

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Miss Dior, René Gruau, c. 1960, Private Collection, © SARL René Gruau

On until 9th January 2011, 10.00 to 18.00 at the Embankment Galleries, Somerset House, put this at the top of your to do list!