Sunday, July 18, 2010

Va Va Va Voom!

Gibson girl is  my user name, my computer identification, my online descriptor. For the past 5 years it has been a part of me. I came up with the name Gibson girl, not because it had great sentimental value, it wasn't deeply intellectual, nor at the time did I understand the historical truth is, I had married a man with the last name Gibson and I am a girl. Thus, the name was born. Plus, as an extra added bonus, I liked the alliteration.

Little did I know that I had "hit on something" with this name. I did a little research and I found this:

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Sketch of the Gibson Girl by Charles Dana Gibson

The Gibson Girl personified beauty, a limited amount of independence, personal fulfillment (she was depicted attending college and vying for a good mate, but she was never depicted as part of the suffrage movement), and American national prestige. By the outbreak of World War I, changing fashions caused the Gibson Girl to fall out of favor. Women of the World War I era favored a practical, more masculine suit, compatible with war work, over the elegant dresses, bustle gowns, shirtwaists, and terraced, shorter skirts favored by the Gibson Girl.

The Gibson Girl was the personification of a feminine ideal as portrayed in the satirical pen and ink illustrated stories created by illustrator Charles Dana Gibson during a 20-year period spanning the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in the United States.

Some people argue that the "Gibson Girl" was the first national standard for feminine beauty. For the next two decades, Gibson's fictional images were extremely popular.[1] There was merchandising of "saucers, ashtrays, tablecloths, pillow covers, chair covers, souvenir spoons, screens, fans, umbrella stands",[2] all bearing her image.

The Pin-Up by Charles Dana Gibson.

The Gibson Girl was tall and slender yet with ample bosom, hips and bottom; she had an exaggerated S-curve torso shape achieved by wearing a swan-bill corset. The images of her epitomized the late 19th- and early 20th-century Western preoccupation with statuesque, youthful features and ephemeral beauty. Her neck was thin and her hair piled high upon her head in the contemporary bouffantpompadour, and chignon ("waterfall of curls") fashions. The tall, narrow-waisted ideal feminine figure was portrayed as being multi-faceted, at ease, and fashionable. Gibson depicted her as an equal and sometimes teasing companion to men.[3] Many models posed for Gibson Girl-style illustrations, including Gibson's wife, Irene Langhorne (who may have been the original model, and was a sister ofNancy Astor, Viscountess Astor) and Evelyn Nesbit. The most famous Gibson Girl was probably the Belgian-American stage actress, Camille Clifford, whose high coiffure and long, elegant gowns that wrapped around her hourglass figure and tightly corseted wasp waist defined the style.[4]

Among Gibson Girl illustrators were Howard Chandler Christy whose work celebrating American "beauties" was similar to Gibson's, and Harry G. Peter, who was most famous for his art on Wonder Woman comics.

"They are only collecting the usual fans and gloves" by Charles Dana Gibson

Words like ephemeral beauty,statuesque, youthful features and first national standard for feminine beauty....well, that is so me! Cough. Cough. I'm trying not to giggle uncontrollably as I type that. I enjoyed reading about the Gibson girls that dominated the fashion scene in the late 1800's and early 1900's. I suppose maybe I was born in the wrong era. I mean after all I could use a corset now, and I am all the time piling my hair on top of my head....less about fashion, more about long hair is hot on the neck, especially during the heat of summer. But hey, I could make it work for me. I don't know about using my image to sell things, like they did back then. These days the only thing my image could sell is maybe some household cleaners, microwave meals, or yoga pants....and not necessarily in that order. I'm okay with being 42, my days of youth now behind me. Eh...whatever. I'm settling in to middle age, and it's not that bad. Really. The hour glass figure of my youth has now been replaced with a figure more reminiscent of a fluffy marshmallow. But, you know what? Marshmallows are good. They make people happy, and they are mighty good on smores. Just sayin'.

1 comment:

  1. Grandmother used to have a book full of Charles Dana Gibson's work. It was quite interesting to look at. I am not sure what happened to that book, it would be nice to see it again.