The Search is On

July 30, 2008 § Leave a comment

Rene Gruau, fashionillustrationgallery

I love my childhood stories.

Those class periods we got to go to the old library in St. Maur  were my favourite. I remember walking in through the wooden frame door – straight towards the librarian’s desk, then turning a sharp left and then left again into the carpeted children’s corner.

It’s funny the things you end up remembering.

I have no clear recollection of what the librarian, the other parts of the library, hallways of the elementary school or class rooms looked like, but I can remember where the library catalogue was located, how the cards looked and the top of my desk in my homeroom.

I can also recall perfectly that one morning when I was in first grade and I picked out this fantastic children’s book about a woman in New York.

I was facing the shelves and rows of thin hardcover books, when I decided on a spur of the moment to pull out a book from the left end of the 2nd bottom-most row.

It was slightly taller than the rest and the title wasn’t about bears or a naughty girl….which is probably why it piqued my interest.


16 years later, I can’t (for the life of me) remember the exact plot or the author  – actually, I probably wasn’t even interested at that point in time – all I can remember is this one delicious spread when the lady, all wrapped up in her mink or fur coat getting out of the car, and a silhouette of Empire State Building in another of the pages.

The illustrations were done with bold strokes of  – if I remember right – mainly crimsom red, black and white. The period was 1920’s/1930s and I was blown away by the newness of it all.

At the same time, it also scared me a little. It was a stark difference from the soft pastels of naturalistic landscapes depicted in most children stories.

Come to think of it, don’t the colours, style and period remind you of Cruella de Vil…

Anyway, the fashion illustrations by Rene Gruau (above) are the nearest I can find to it, but still there are some differences.


I think about this book here and there on some restless nights before I fall asleep, and on other days when I’m spacing out on the train ,and I keep wondering: WHO IS THE ILLUSTRATOR???? WHAT WAS THE BOOK ABOUT???

I can’t take it anymore. I need to know what that book is.

Yes. The search is ON.


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