Even if you don’t know much about the history of advertising, you’ve probably heard of the Gibson Girl.
The Gibson Girl was developed by illustrator Charles Dana Gibson. He did countless sketches, some based off real models including his future wife, Irene Langhorne, and actresses Evelyn Nesbit and Camille Clifford.
Gibson felt his girl was a composite of everyday women he saw on the streets and in public buildings.
The image Gibson created inspired other illustrators. Images of the Gibson Girl appeared in magazines and on merchandise.
The Gibson Girl represented the feminine ideal of the 1890s. The sketches have been credited with establishing the first media image of an ideal woman, the preference for an hourglass figure and the image of the girl next door.
Some of the features of the Gibson Girl were:
- Impeccably dressed
- Upswept hair
- Body is in an s-curve with large bosom and hips, but small waist
- Upper class
- Aloof and confident
At the same time, the Gibson Girl is usually depicted as having equal status with men. She married only for romance and preferred to stay single. Men, however, fell hopelessly in love with her.
She used her feminine wiles to get what she wanted while at the same time being intelligent.
The Gibson Girl remained the ideal for nearly 25 years. Then World War One began and women’s fashions became more practical. In addition, women no longer needed men to get what they wanted in the world. They were able to forge their own, independent path.
Who do you consider a fashion icon of today? Leave a comment below.
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